W. L. Gore & Associates Unveils World-Class Fabrics Testing Facility, Marking 40 Years of Innovating Comfort and Protection

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ELKTON, Md.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc. (Gore), known for its scientific approach
to product development and ensuring products perform as promised in the
intended end use, advanced its product testing capabilities with the
opening of new Biophysics and Heat and Flame Protection labs. The new
lab facilities allow Gore engineers to measure the properties of
component materials, Gore laminates and fully constructed garments, and
footwear in new, expanded and relevant conditions.


The new world-class facilities further Gore’s ability to develop
innovative fabrics products with distinct functionality that are proven
to perform in real-world conditions before they are even brought to
market.

  • The Environmental Chamber can recreate between 85 to 95 percent of the
    environments on the earth’s surface, allowing Gore to evaluate the
    performance of its fabrics products in specific conditions and collect
    quantitative data on the protection provided and resulting comfort of
    the wearer.
  • The new Heat and Flame Protection lab allows Gore to precisely measure
    and analyze the ability of its products to provide the three key
    elements of burn protection: flame resistance, thermal insulation, and
    thermal stability.

“Gore’s new world-class facilities can simulate from the most common to
the most extreme environmental conditions, from a cold, damp drizzle in
Scotland to the scorching heat of a California wildfire,” says Paul
Canatella, technical leader for Gore Fabrics Division. “By
creating real-world conditions in a lab environment we can
scientifically measure and analyze the impact of a product on human
perception and performance in a controlled environment and then quickly
apply that data to our product research and development efforts.”

Gore’s Fabrics Division brought comfort to the outdoor industry 40 years
ago with the development of waterproof breathable GORE-TEX® Fabric
Technology. As the leading innovator of performance apparel, Gore’s
experience and expertise has resulted in such industry breakthroughs as:
seam sealing with GORE-SEAM® Tape; the first waterproof breathable
footwear (GORE-TEX® Bootie); addressing heat stress in the firefighting
industry with GORE-TEX® Moisture Barriers; and protecting soldiers with
GORE-TEX® Combat gear and GORE-TEX® PYRAD® Technology which provides
flame resistant protection.

Gore conducts extensive testing in the new Biophysics lab to predict the
effects of apparel, activity, and environment on the human body. This
state-of-the-art facility has the capabilities to measure performance,
protection, breathability and comfort benefit for the end-user, and can
recreate a wide range of environmental conditions, such as: adjusting
the temperature from –50 to +50 C, relative humidity from 5 – 98
percent, wind from 0–10 m/s, and rain conditions (water and air
temperature 5–25 C, rainfall rates between 0–76 mm/hr, and wind from 0–5
m/s). The data and analytics gathered during the testing process are a
critical component for understanding the potential impact on the
end-user in a variety of relevant environmental conditions for instance,
exposure to heat and solar radiation, cold, rain, or high wind. The
impact is measured through benchtop testing, sensored mannequins, and
human testing in the environmental chamber.

Key components of the Biophysics lab include:

  • The Environmental Chamber can simulate extreme environmental
    conditions from frigid temperatures on Everest to the blazing sun and
    heat of Death Valley to Amazonian rainforest humidity. Such range of
    conditions are achieved through accurate control of temperature
    (–50C–+50C), relative humidity (5–98%), wind speed (0–10 m/s), and
    natural solar radiation (0–1100 W/m2) that can replicate a
    complete solar cycle from sun rise to sun set.
  • The Rain Tower can simulate realistic rainfall rates ranging from a
    light drizzle in Scotland to a downpour in the U.S. Pacific Northwest.
    It can simulate rainfall of up to 3 inches per hour, water and air
    temperatures ranging from 5–25 C, and wind speed of up to 5 miles per
    second. This is critical in testing the impact of wind-driven rain on
    various aspects of water protection and comfort, such as how garment
    water gain affects the user perception of warmth and bulk, for example.

Along with comfort, protection from heat and flames are tested in Gore’s
new Heat and Flame Protection lab. To maximize end-users’ functional
effectiveness in a wide range of heat and flame exposures, Gore analyzes
thermal insulation and thermal stability in addition to
“self-extinguishing” flame resistant functionality of materials.

Key capabilities of the Heat and Flame Protection lab include:

  • The Cone Calorimeter enables Gore engineers to measure heat release
    characteristics of the fabrics used in finished garments, one of the
    most important variables to measure when developing garments that
    protect against heat and flame sources. The cone calorimeter also
    allows for measurement of smoke generated from a fire event involving
    these products.
  • Stored Thermal Energy Tester evaluates time to burn in low heat flux
    scenarios where a firefighter could experience sweat burns from
    standing outside the fire ground. This allows complimentary insight to
    the additional reduction in protection in a flash-over fire scenario
    when a room or area is suddenly engulfed in flames from floor to
    ceiling.
  • Pyrolysis Combustion Flow Calorimeter (PCFC) / Micro Combustion
    Calorimeter (MCC) allows Gore to rapidly characterize heat release and
    fire-preventing char generation in the raw materials used to make our
    products.

“The advanced capabilities of the Heat and Flame Protection lab allow us
to very quickly assess the performance of materials and rapidly generate
and develop understanding and new technologies that enable us to better
protect those that protect and serve all of us,” said Kip Sturgill,
global technical leader for Gore’s protective fabrics business unit.

40 Years of Innovation

The comfort and protection of Gore’s broad fabrics portfolio is a staple
consumers rely on in a range of applications and extreme conditions.
Gore products allow golfers to play 18 holes in wet grass while keeping
their feet dry and comfortable, hikers to enjoy the outdoors without
worrying about the weather, and those summiting the highest of peaks to
focus on climb with the confidence that their GORE-TEX® gear will
protect them from water and wind as promised. In addition, Gore has a
robust portfolio of technical products that help protect firefighters
from the dangers of heat stress and allow police officers and military
soldiers to focus on their mission, with the confidence that their Gore
products will provide them the protection they require.

About Gore Fabrics

Gore’s Fabrics Division revolutionized the outerwear industry with
waterproof, breathable GORE-TEX® fabric 40 years ago and remains a
leading innovator of performance apparel. GORE® fabrics products provide
comfort and protection in challenging environments and in everyday life,
enabling wearers to safely, and confidently achieve and experience more.
From hiking in downpours to military operations and fighting fires,
Gore’s deep understanding of consumer and industry needs drives
development of products with meaningful performance advantages. Visit gore-tex.com
to learn more.

About W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc.

Gore is a technology-driven company focused on discovery and product
innovation. Well known for waterproof, breathable GORE-TEX® fabric, the
company’s portfolio includes everything from high-performance fabrics
and implantable medical devices to industrial manufacturing components
and aerospace electronics. Founded in 1958 and headquartered in Newark,
Delaware, Gore employs more than 10,000 associates worldwide. Gore is
one of a select few companies to appear on all of the U.S. “100 Best
Companies to Work For” lists since the rankings debuted in 1984. The
company also appears regularly on similar lists around the world. Learn
more at www.gore.com.
Learn more at gore.com.

Contacts

W. L. Gore & Associates
Cara Greene, 212-6161-3601
cgreene@stantoncomm.com