What is GORE-TEX®?

25/01/2016

GORE-TEX® is a synthetic fabric used in a wide range of outdoor and sports clothing. It is similar to nylon in that it is tough, lightweight and waterproof but where it differs is its ability to be permeable to air and water vapour. Basically, it lets sweat escape out through material as water vapour but doesn't any rain water in to maintain its waterproof properties. This makes Gore Tex® a very useful clothing fabric for people who work outdoors and those who are involved in a variety of outdoor activities.

GORE-TEX® contains a polymer called polytetrafluoroethene (PTFE) (otherwise known as Teflon®) which you would find on a number of household products such as non-stick cooking pans, tennis racquets and a whole host of other decorating and recreational items. Each square millimetre of PTFE contains millions of tiny holes called pores each of which are too small to allow water to pass through, but big enough to allow the smaller water molecules created by sweat to escape.

PTFE is then combined with the more durable properties of nylon and polyurethane to create the completed GORE-TEX® synthetic fabric.

Enhanced GORE-TEX® Testing

Each GORE-TEX® clothing product is rigorously tested through a variety of methods to ensure that the garments are as durable, protective and breathable that they need to be. Testing involves:

  • The Rain Room: Each of the GORE-TEX® garments are worn within a simulated outdoor environment that is created within The Rain Room. With scenarios ranging from light rain to full blown storms, the garments are tested to ensure they remain waterproof throughout.
  • The Comfort Test: This test involves testing the garment to ensure wearers are able to stay as comfortable as possible with the right balance of heat production and heat loss through the membrane pores. This ensures that wearers won’t be too cold or overheat when wearing the garments outdoors.
  • Martindale Test; The Martindale Test is a highly regarded test used by a variety of protective and industrial clothing. This uses an abrasive material such as sandpaper to test how tough the fabric is. The sandpaper is applied to the fabric in constant circular motions to see how many rotations the fabric can withstand before it breaks down. This can be carried out non-stop for hours and sometimes days.
  • Cold Flex Test: This tests the GORE-TEX® to see how durable the fabric is when squeezed and stretched at extreme temperatures before again being tested to ensure its waterproof properties have been maintained throughout.