Feathers as Insulation

penguinIf you have been keeping up with GNI’s prior posts, you are aware that Insulation for your home can be made out of MANY surprising materials: jeans, bras, even mushrooms! Feathers, are NOT the next big item on the market as an insulation material. However, feathers do make excellent insulation-for penguins that is.

Keeping warm involves stopping the transfer of heat from one object to another through conduction. Conduction is the transfer of heat through solid portions of a structure. The transfer of heat conduction can be significantly reduced by using insulation. Insulation is a material with low thermal conductivity which thereby resists the flow of heat. Layers of dense, warm feathers cover penguins’ bodies and blanket legs, feet and eggs. Penguins trap air in their feathers. Trapping air in layers is a very effective way of insulating an object. Penguins’ eggs are kept at a cozy 33°C, even when it is -40°C outside!