In this advertising video published by Columbia Sportswear, Omni-Heat Reflective is introduced as a technology which reduces body heat loss by reflecting body heat radiation (back to itself) using silvery dots printed on inner surface of jackets or other clothes (similar to a space blanket).

However, I suspect that:

  1. Body thermal radiation is conserved by most other fabrics as well, without those silver dots.
  2. The silver dots work to keep the body warmer mainly because they are not/less breathable, not because they reflect radiation.

Has there been any independent scientific experiment (for example using thermal imaging) to see how effective this technology is compared to non-reflective fabrics?

  • Welcome to Skeptics! What is the particular claim you are skeptical about. What do you mean by effective? I had a quick listen to the video, and I wasn't sure what the claim was. They avoided saying much. – Oddthinking Nov 15 '15 at 9:15
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    @Oddthinking I assume they mean it reduces body heat lose by 20%. I'm interested to know if the thermal reflective silver dots used in this jacket (which is inspired by "space blanket") is effective here or just a gimmick. – Ali Shakiba Nov 16 '15 at 0:41
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    "it reduces body heat lose by 20%" - Yeah, but any thin jacket probably reduces body heat loss by about 20%. The claims here have been worded by advertisers to carefully avoid making any actual claims beyond "Hey, it is a jacket." I am confident it works as a jacket, so what does it mean to say it isn't effective. – Oddthinking Nov 16 '15 at 1:28
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    @Oddthinking It never really makes sense to refer to a percentage of a temperature, since there's no generally agreed baseline. 0 C, 0 F and 0 K are very different to each other. – bdsl Nov 16 '15 at 10:04
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    According to Wikipedia, space blankets work primarily because they are impermeable - thus greatly reducing heat loss by convection and evaporation. Additionally, "to a limited extent the reflective surface inhibits losses caused by thermal radiation". This suggests that the reflective dots are probably not tremendously effective in a jacket which is not impermeable. – Mark Nov 18 '15 at 12:21

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