How Does Gore-Tex Work?

Today Gore-Tex is used in almost every clothing industry imaginable. From boots to hats, it adds comfort and breathability to any type of clothing? In the 1980s, there was a man named Bob Gore that made this possible with the invention known as Gore Tex, so aptly named after the developer himself, getting him inducted into what is known as the U.S. Inventors Hall of Fame in the year 2006.

What is Gore Tex?

As suggested above, Gore Tex is a fabric invented by Gore and his son that is both waterproof and breathable. Created as a micro-structure containing nodes made of a porous version of the chemical called polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), a chemical used in Teflon, interconnected by fine fibers, this material was originally designed as a waterproofing laminate for jackets, but is now used for many other things including boots.

How It Works

Though the invention of something like Gore Tex was impressive enough during the 80s, the mechanics that made it so effective was even more appealing. At the time of its creation, there was nothing on the market like it. The idea of Gore Texs mechanics have been copied, manipulated, and improved by several over time with the growth of technology, but its concept still remains the same. So, how does a technology like Gore Tex work? Using technical, scientific terms would just confuse, and probably bore, a lot of people, but broken down into lament terms that everyone can understand this technology can be understood and deemed as impressive to even the most logical of spectators. The concept is this: While creating the microstructure made of nodes and fine fibers, the machines are set up to weave the fibers so remarkably close together, estimating about 9 billion pores per sq. inch, that they end up being equivalent to 1/20,000 the size of the average droplet of water. These measurements were set with the thought that the water droplets will not be able to pass since they would not be able to squeeze themselves that small.

The Flaws of Gore Tex

Like anything else invented by man, Gore Tex comes with its own set of flaws. The first flaw, out of the two, is that it is only waterproof. This is not that big of an issue when GT is used on boots, but anything on anything else this could raise a slight issue. Though it may be waterproof, this material will not protect from the chill of the air or any other elements that may oppose a threat. If wind proof is what someone is looking for, the Windproofer (Gore Texs sister material) is the way to go. Keep in mind that this material is also not waterproof. The other flaw GT presents is a little more aggravating. This flaw is the fact that, with the basic wear and cleaning, the performance of its effect diminishes. This is caused from the built in water repellant on some of its products wearing off. The good news about this is that it is easily restored by low heat. Basically, throw it in the dryer on low or run a low heat iron on it and the effect returns.