What is Gore-Tex? If you are a fan of outdoor wear, then you most likely have heard of Gore-Tex or even worn one. But, how much do you actually know about Gore-Tex? If someone were to ask you what is Gore-Tex, would you be in a position to answer comprehensively? Luckily, our guide will discuss everything you need to know about Gore-Tex.
What is Gore-Tex? Understanding Gore-Tex
Gore-Tex refers to a patented waterproof fabric that is mainly used in producing technical and outdoor clothing. The waterproof fabric is made using PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene). Gore-Tex has taken a significant market share compared to its competitors due to its waterproof properties.
What is Gore-Tex -Specifications
As earlier mentioned, Gore-Tex has a PTFE fabric that undergoes rigorous stretching after production. This causes the fabric to have several million tiny holes too small to let a droplet of water pass through. However, water vapor contains significantly smaller particles compared to liquid water. This causes the fabric to allow water vapor to pass through, resulting in its impressive breathability.
To maintain the top performance of the fabric, it is necessary to treat it using a durable water repellent, a chemical spray that remains on the fabric for some years. While Gore-Tex can remain fully waterproof and breathable even without the application of the repellent, the repellent ensures that no water remains on the fabric. Failure to apply the repellent will make the Gore-Tex fabric more susceptible to overheating.
What is Gore-Tex’s History?
Gore-Tex was founded by Wilbert L. Gore who started his career as early as 1940 by working for DuPont Cooperation. He worked at the company during a period in which the company was famous for its technological breakthroughs. Wilbert Gore left his position at DuPont in 1958 to further explore PTFE and formed his own company, W.L.Gore and Associates. He strongly believed that there was untapped potential in PTFE which he wanted to realize. Upon quitting, he involved his wife Genevieve and son Bob in his innovations on PTFE.
Gore continued his research, even after years of hitting dead ends. This period was quite frustrating for him and his family. Finally, his success came through years later, in 1969. Instead of slowly stretching the rod-like fabric in other experiments, he decided to yank it. To his surprise, the rod stretched exponentially, going as much as 1000%. Due to the stretching, Gore got a highly porous material that had 70% or more air. After making such a breakthrough, he applied to get a patent for what he had discovered. The patent was approved in 1980 and was since called Gore-Tex.
What is Gore-Tex in the Present Day
After receiving the patent, Gore did not stop there. Gore-Tex quickly rose to supremacy in the following decades. In 1979, the company introduced Gore-seam tape which aimed to help improve the waterproof ability of the Gore-Tex apparel.
A major success was recorded when astronauts wore Gore-Tex in the early space shuttle missions. Years later, in 1982, Gore-Tex launched its first footwear booties. Then, in 2003, they produced Gore-Text gloves which are widely used until today.
In 2006, the Gore-Tex Shakedry line was launched, and the company began its Gore-Text Invisible Fit in 2017. The Invisible Fit competed with other footwear proofing technologies which aren’t dependent on bodies.
Gore-Tex products continue to penetrate the market as the company, W.L.Gore and Associates, continue making new products. In addition, the company strives to remain competitive in the market by offering quality products.
What is Gore-Tex? A Comparison Between Gore-Tex and eVent
When going out for a great outdoor adventure, everyone will remind you to find waterproof gear. The most prominent brands in the battle of the best outdoor apparel are Gore-Tex and eVent.
The main difference between these two competing brands is that Gore-Tex has a PU (polyurethane) layer which repels dirt, oil, grease, and other debris. On the other hand, eVent, despite being waterproof, lacks a PU layer. Other than the layer difference, there is no other difference as both are waterproof (100%) and offer breathability.
What Is Gore-Tex: How is the Apparel Made?
The Gore-Tex fabric is made in three steps which are as follows:
Production of PTFE
The initial stage is to produce PTFE in solid shapes, rods, blocks, or any other large shape. PTFE is the polymer form of TFE (tetrafluoroethylene). The process starts by forming TFE by combining chloroform, fluorspar, and hydrofluoric acid, then exposing the mixture to heat. Once TFE is formed, it is stored in liquid form, pressurized, then exposed to initiator substances. It is then combined with water to form PTFE.
The resulting PTFE is heated and constantly stretched to form a thin sheet. The sheet can then be cut into different forms after cooling.
Bonding PTFE with polyurethane
The ePTFE formed is combined with a layer of polyurethane layer. Next, these two are bonded together. Once they have completely bonded, the resulting layer is added to garments and other clothing.
What is Gore-Tex’s Uses
You might wonder, what is Gore-Tex commonly used for? There are actually numerous ways to use the Gore-Tex fabric. The most common is in sportswear and most outdoor gear. However, the fabric is also commonly used on shoes and gloves.
Though uncommon, Gore-Tex is also used in medical and industrial applications. Let’s have a look at some of its applications:
The most common use of Gore-Tex is in different types of outdoor wear. Originally, the fabric was used on winter jackets and rain shells before further advancements were made. Now, Gore-Tex is used on cycling jackets, sports gear, pants, and other numerous clothing.
Gore-Tex was the first material used to make spacesuits. It is used for technical uses, such as in the clothes used by astronauts. Also, it is used in the medical field in producing vascular grafts and sutures. Due to the porous nature of Gore-Tex, it allows body tissues to move through it. This makes this inert fabric ideal for use in cardiovascular implants. Also, Gore-Tex is used in preserving ancient documents and sealing batteries.
Gore-Tex is used on booties and other shoe wear and gloves. The brand’s shoes have improved, and Gore-Tex is now also used in hats, backpacks among other accessories.
What is Gore-Tex - Different Fabrics Available
There are different types of the fabric such which are as follows:
- Gore-Tex - This fabric is the original fabric commonly used in jackets, shells, and other applications in the 1960s. Despite this material being less durable, it is highly versatile.
- Gore-Text Invisible -Fit-0 the W.L. Gore and Associates Company strives to remain in the market. The Invisible fit product is a direct response to the waterproof booties. It helps the outer side of shoes prevent water entry and reduce any chances of waterlogging.
- Gore-Tex Pro - The Pro version of Gore-Tex is the successor of the Gore-Tex original. It is more durable compared to its predecessor, Gore-Tex. The Pro fabric is commonly used in heavy-duty outdoor tasks. Gore-Text Pro also has a record-high performance and has managed to gain popularity, especially in cold weather.
- Gore-Tex Paclite - It was developed in the 1990s (late) and is a flexible and lightweight material. Due to its lightweight nature, it is easily used in jacket pockets, which were a major trend.
- Gore-Tex Shakedry - This form is among the most recent versions of the fabric. It is a waterproof Gore-Tex material that is breathable and lighter compared to Gore-Tex. This makes it the ideal fabric for athletic applications such as cycling, running, and other intensive sports.
What is Gore-Tex Laundry Instructions?
Before laundering any of your garments, ensure you zip the front, pockets, and pit zips. If the apparel has any straps or flaps, ensure you fasten them.
The usual washing process goes like this.
- Set your machine to warm cycle under 40 degrees Celsius.
- Add a few drops of detergent (liquid).
- Wash, then rinse twice after.
- Try to reduce spinning to minimize the creasing of the clothes.
Don’t use any powder detergents. Also, refrain from using any additional products such as stain removers, conditioners, fabric softeners, bleach, and other additives, as these products will affect your garment performance. Also, avoid putting your clothes in the machine alongside other heavily soiled clothes.
If ever you need to bleach, avoid using any chlorine bleach. It’s also recommended that you tumble dry it using a warm and extremely gentle cycle. Once the clothes are dry, tumble dry for around 20 minutes.
If you can’t tumble dry, you can iron the already dry garment. Iron it on the gentle warm setting without steam. You can place a towel or any other cloth between the iron box and the cloth. Doing so will allow the repellent treatment on your cloth to activate.
Gore-Tex emphasizes home laundering if possible. However, should you find professional dry cleaning services necessary, consider requesting the cleaner to use clear hydrocarbon solvent distilled when rinsing. Once done, request them to use repellent on the garment before final drying.
If the clothes’ applied treatment can’t be reactivated anymore, you can apply a new repellent on the cloth. Gore-Tex recommends using pump-spray variety instead of wash-in products.
What is Gore-Texa – Conclusion
Gore-Tex is a widely recognized fabric across the world, especially when it comes to waterproof clothing. While competing brands may offer breathability, Gore-Tex remains unbeatable when it comes to offering long-term durability. Hopefully, our guide answers “What is Gore-Tex” comprehensively and that you now understand the origin of Gore-Tex, how it is made, its different types, and its uses.
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