Next Generation Lightweight Thermal Acoustic Insulation Blanket for Aerospace Applications

Reducing Weight Without Compromising Critical Characteristics


Thermal acoustic insulation blankets are crucial for aerospace applications, providing several important benefits to the installation beyond just insulation. Our client approached us with an existing quilted blanket system being used in an aerospace application. It was suffering from increased weight over time due to the capillary effect of the quilting thread, retaining condensation. It was not a cost-effective system, either, as it required replacement more frequently than desired.

The Challenge

The primary challenge our client faced was the need to reduce the weight of their existing quilted blanket system. This weight gain was a significant concern as it could potentially compromise the effectiveness of the insulation system. Moreover, the excess weight limited the ability to accommodate additional equipment, personnel, or cargo on helicopters, planes, and other aerospace vehicles, impacting operational flexibility and efficiency. 

The client had stringent requirements for several critical characteristics of the blanket, including flame retardance (FR), electrical static dissipation, acoustic and thermal insulation, barrier properties against hydraulic fluids, and air permeability to prevent condensation-related corrosion. The challenge, therefore, was to develop a next-generation lightweight insulation blanket while ensuring that these crucial characteristics were maintained at the highest standards.

Shawmut's Solution

In a collaborative development, the client and Shawmut’s materials engineers identified and selected a combination of lightweight, inherently flame retardant woven and knit textiles, and printed electro-static dissipative grids on the textiles. These materials were combined with a high temperature microporous hydrophobic and oleophobic membrane, along with a high-loft inherently-FR nonwoven for sound attenuation. Shawmut combined all five layers of composite utilizing FR adhesive on a hot melt rotogravure process. The entire composite was treated with a finish coating to enhance its oleophobicity. Together, these steps combined to produce an improved and lighter weight thermal acoustic insulation blanket that eliminated the need for quilting.

Results and Impact

The solution implemented by Shawmut yielded impressive results and had a significant impact on the aerospace industry. By transitioning to lightweight materials and eliminating the need for quilting, Shawmut succeeded in achieving a 50% reduction in the weight of the insulation blanket. This reduction in weight was achieved without compromising any of the critical characteristics, ensuring that the blanket continued to meet stringent aerospace requirements.

The impact extended beyond weight reduction alone. The newly developed thermal acoustic insulation blanket retained its critical characteristics, as well as its effectiveness as a barrier against hydraulic fluids and air permeability to prevent corrosive condensation effects. In essence, the innovative solution offered a more efficient and cost-effective alternative to the traditional quilted blanket system. This not only addressed the immediate weight issue but also had broader implications for aerospace applications by showcasing the potential for achieving enhanced performance while reducing overall weight – a critical consideration in aerospace design. Shawmut’s solution not only met the client’s requirements but also paved the way for a lighter future in aerospace insulation solutions.


This innovative approach resulted in the successful production of a lightweight thermal acoustic insulation blanket that met all the customers’ specifications for their aerospace application. By utilizing lightweight materials and eliminating the need for quilting, we were able to reduce the weight of the blanket by 50%. The blanket maintained its flame retardance, electrical static dissipation, acoustic insulation, thermal insulation, barrier properties, and air permeability to prevent the corrosive effects of condensation. This innovative solution not only met but exceeded our clients’ expectations, providing them with a product that is more efficient and cost-effective than the existing quilted blanket system.

Shawmut’s solution isn’t just an answer to immediate challenges; it’s a step toward a brighter future in aerospace insulation solutions, where lighter, more efficient, and high-performance alternatives are the new norm.

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Project Details


5-Layer Composite Thermal Acoustic Insulation Blanket

Capabilities Applied/Processes:

  • Hot Melt Rotogravure
  • Rotary Screen Printing

Industry for Use:

  • Aerospace
  • Military and Protective
  • U.S. Department of Defense (DOD)
  • Acoustic Insulation
  • Thermal Insulation

Materials Used:

  • Woven Textiles
  • Knit Textiles
  • High Temp, Microporous Membrane
  • PEEK (Polyetheretherketone)
  • Nomex
  • Meta-aramid
  • Para-aramid
  • FR Adhesive
  • Oleophobic Coating

Equipment Used:

Hot Melt Rotogravure

In Process Testing/Inspection Performed:

  • Vertical Flame
  • Adhesion/Band Testing
  • Electrostatic Decay (ESD) Dissipation
  • Moisture Vapor Transmission Rate (MVTR)
  • Weight
  • Oleophobic
  • Water Repellency
  • Noise Abatement


Up to 80″


Continuous Rolls

Standards Met:

FAR 25.853 – Flammability Requirements for Aviation Materials

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