Criteria for judging the bulkiness of down


Fluffiness, the English name is Fill Power or Filling Power, usually referred to as FP, which literally means filling ability. According to American standards, it refers to the value in cubic inches of volume per ounce (28.34 grams) of down under certain conditions. If the space occupied by one ounce of down is 500 cubic inches, the fill power of the down is said to be 500.

Bulkiness is one of the most important indicators of down quality, and it is a concentrated expression of warmth retention, elasticity and comfort.
Under the same amount of down filling, the higher the bulkiness, the thicker the volume of still air layer that can be fixed by down products. Air is a poor conductor of heat, and the still air layer will not cause heat loss due to convection, so the bulkiness of down has a good linear relationship with the warmth retention of down products.

But the bulkiness depends not only on the volume (Fill), but also on the elasticity (Power). After the down product is pressed and loosened, if it quickly rebounds and returns to its original shape, it means that the down has good bulkiness. It is the down that plays a major role in the bulkiness, and the contribution of impurities such as feathers and feather silk is very small.

Generally speaking, the higher the down content, the higher the bulkiness; the better the down quality, the higher the bulkiness; the less damage to the down, the higher the bulkiness. That's why it is said that the bulkiness can measure the quality of down.
Down products with high bulkiness are light, close-fitting and plump, and can incorporate more design elements, which has become an important development trend in the industry.

A Brief History of Fill
The history of down as a thermal insulation material can be traced back to 1892, but at that time there was no concept of loft at all.
As more and more down products appear on the market, the comparison between products becomes more and more frequent. At this time, LOFT (thickness) is usually used. The higher the LOFT, the warmer it is.

It is a milestone when the bulkiness reaches 650 or even 700, because it means that the concept of bulkiness has begun to mature.

By the 1980s, the term bulk became popular, but the use of the term was not completely uniform. However, from the newspapers and magazines at that time, we can see that 700 fill is already the benchmark of extremely high-quality down. 

Factors Affecting Loft
In the past, the increase in bulkiness was quite slow. It reached 725 in the 1990s, and it remained at around 800 in 2000. Today, the bulkiness of 900 was born in a very short period of time.

The source of down has not changed much over the years, and there have been no breakthroughs in bird breeding that have resulted in improved down quality. So why did the bulkiness suddenly develop rapidly? The longer the breeding cycle of geese and ducks, the larger the down flowers and the higher the fluffiness, but this is only a prerequisite. To further improve the fluffiness of down, the following two factors are needed:
The first factor is the continuous improvement of down processing technology. Down needs to be sorted, washed, and dried before it can be used on clothing and sleeping bags, and these processes are important means to improve the bulkiness of down.

The second factor is a change in the loft standard. People divide feather and down more precisely, and only high-purity down can increase the bulkiness.

In addition, the rapid export of China's down has also had a positive impact.

In the past, manufacturers and consumers generally had a prejudice against Chinese down, thinking that only foreign quality is the best. In fact, the domestic down industry started late, and the early down processing level was low, so it could only be exported to foreign countries after preliminary processing. With the rapid development of the domestic economy, China's manufacturing industry has rapidly improved, and its down processing technology has become increasingly mature. It is now the world's largest producer of down and down, and continues to supply a large amount of high-quality down and down products to the world every year.

In August 2017, the China Badminton Association commissioned two authoritative testing laboratories in down testing, the International Down and Feather Testing Laboratory (IDFL) and the Guangzhou Fiber Product Testing Research Institute (GTT), to test the feathers from China, France, Hungary and Poland. 13 velvet samples were tested, and the results showed that the highest quality among the 13 samples was gray duck down from Wuchuan, China, with a bulkiness of 22.1cm; among the European down samples, the highest quality was Polish white goose down, with a bulkiness of 20.8cm. Ranked fourth among 13 fleece samples.
Fluffiness detection

Down is composed of polymers condensed from a variety of amino acids, showing a special three-dimensional network structure. They interact with temperature and humidity, endowing down with a special "shape memory effect", so that down has a very stable shape.

Down will return to its original form no matter how much it is twisted, twisted and squeezed unless it is subjected to excessive chemical or heat effects.
Therefore, whether the feather and down can be restored to the best initial shape during the testing process is directly related to the final bulkiness test result.
However, the standards and requirements for the measurement of bulkiness in different countries and regions are not the same, and the method of restoring feather and down to the best initial shape is not uniform, so only GB/T 10288-2016 "Down and Feather Inspection Method" is selected. " as an example to briefly reflect its process and principles.

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