Gore opens fabric, footwear lab that can simulate extreme conditions

2016 Gore Enviormental Chamber
2016 Gore Environmental Chamber

W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc. opened new Biophysics and Heat and Flame Protection labs. The new lab facilities allow engineers to measure the properties of component materials, Gore laminates and fully constructed garments, and footwear in various conditions.

Features at the lab in the Elkton, MD area, include:

  • 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 developed waterproof breathable Gore-Tex fabric. Other breakthroughs include: Gore Seam Tap; the first waterproof breathable footwear Gore-Tex bootie; addressing heat stress in the firefighting industry with Gore-Text Moisture Barriers, and protecting soldiers with Gore-Tex Combat gear and Gore-Tex Pryad 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 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.

The Environmental Chamber can simulate extreme environmental conditions from frigid temperatures on Everest to Death Valley, to Amazonian rainforest humidity.

The Rain Tower can simulate realistic rainfall rates ranging from a light drizzle in Scotland to a downpour in the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

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,

“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.

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