GORE-TEX®: How does the membrane work?

We all know and love this feeling – the feeling of freedom and independence of being out there in the nature, nothing is standing in your way or holding you back, you just do what you want to do and follow your heart. But before any expedition there are some organizational things to think about: where is it that you go, how advanced is your tour and what is the time schedule? But this one thing that you can’t plan or influence in any way – the weather.

This guide helps you with the following topics:

 

THERE IS NO BAD WEATER, JUST BAD CLOTHES


If you don’t belong to the group of “only-good-weather-nature-lovers”, you know very well that the right attire with the right weather proof profile is a must, so you can enjoy the nature to the fullest in any conditions: rain, snow or wind. We talk about the reliable and high quality outdoor-apparel, which will protect you from wind, water, snow or cold which is very hard to even come to close to in the sports industry, the highly functional material GORE-TEX®.

Behind this beloved material is the global company W.L. Gore & Associates, who’s mission is to develop innovative, technology driven solutions in the functional-textile industry. The young student of chemical engineering Robert W. Gore came up with the idea to coat wires with the Polytetrafluorethylen (PTFE), to achieve better isolation features. Later on Bob Gore extended his research of PTFE, also known as Teflon, into the textile industry. His expanded PTFE was patented and that is how the brand GORE-TEX® came to life. in 1958 founded his father Bill Gore the company W. L. Gore & Associates, which is nowadays and employer of more than 10.000 people world-wide.

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GORE-TEX®: ONE MATERIAL, ONE TECHNOLOGY, ONE PROMISE


What is GORE-TEX® actually? As many of us know GORE-TEX® products are well knows for their technical features: waterproof, windproof and highly breathable. But that’s not all, or is it? GORE-TEX® can do more than that. We took the material and put it underneath the microscope to help you understand the whole technology thing behind it.

Maintaining the micro-climate of our bodies 

The essential to the feel-good feeling during out adventured and escapades in the nature is the micro-climate of our own bodies. Even though we cannot see it, our body is surrounded by a very thin layer of air, so called “micro-climate”. As the manufacturer Gore explains: we feel the best at about 32 degrees of Celsius, with a 30% of humidity.

Our micro-climate an be easily influenced by many factors, such as wind, rain or our own motion. GORE-TEX® products aspire to protect your micro-climate in the outdoors and therefore offer you a wearing comfort during your adventures. There is one main rule, un order to keep your micro-climate protected: loose as little of your body warmth as possible. That is how GORE-TEX® makes is for a reliable weather proof material.

 

Windproof

Each stroke of the wind takes away the body warmth from the unprotected areas. This kind of lowering the temperature through convection is called the wind-chill effect. To avoid such cooling down, it is very important to have completely wind-proof materials. To measure the windproof ability of given material we measure the liters of air pro square meter pro second which get through given material (l/m2/s). The lower this number is the more windproof the material is. All of the GORE-TEX® are measured by the standard of max. 5 l/m2/s.

 

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Breathability

Another way of losing your body temperature is though sweat. The liquid accumulating on your skin and can’t escape through the layers of your clothing will get stuck on your skin and slowly take away your body warmth. Therefore it is important to wear such materials allowing the excessive sweat to disappear. GORE-TEX® offers such feature through the micro-pores in the material, which don’t allow the air to enter the material from the outside but allows the excessive humidity to escape from the inside.


Waterproof

Wet clothing redirects your body warmth away from your skin into the free air. During rainy, snowy or foggy conditions Gore-Tex® Products are 100% waterproof. Thanks to the micropores in the GORE-TEX® material, products can keep their waterproofness under a direct water pressure with a water column of 28 meters. Just to give you an idea, a man of average weight can produce while sitting on a wet ground a water column of around 2 meters impacting the tested material.

 

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Who wants’ to be well protected against the rain or other wet conditions, should pay attention to the appropriate lingo, because words such as “water-repellent” or “water-resistant” don’t guarantee a complete protection from water and humidity. Also the so called DWR-Products (Durable Water Repellency) are impregnated to become water-repellent, but this impregnation can wear off with time and usage.

GORE-SEAM® Tape: Seamless Technology for 100 % Moisture Protection

Gore invented a technology called the GORE-SEAM® Tape Technology to live up to their 100% waterproof guarantee. Each seam in the GORE-TEX® clothing, shoes or gloves is sealed with a waterproof tape. This step in the production process is fulfilled by trained produces in certified factories. The maximal water proof level is reach exactly by the sealing of all of the seams on your clothes, shoes or gloves.

 

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THE KEY OF ALL GORE-TEX® PRODUCTS IS THE MEMBRANE


The secret behind all of the functional properties of the GORE-TEX® products is the unique membrane. An extremely thin layer made out of extended Polytetrafluoroethylen is making this possible. The GORE-TEX® Membrane consists our of more than 1,4 Billions of pores pro square centimeter. These pores are 20.000 times smaller than a drop of water but 700 times bigger than a molecule of evaporated water. This makes it possible for sweat to leave through the material and at the same time keep away any moisture from the outside. In order to preserve this highly functional membrane from chemical substances that could hinder it, such as insecticide sprays or skin creams, it is protected by additional protective layer.

The GORE-TEX® membrane is the key to all of the Gore products, but that’s not the only key element. Each final product, shoes, jackets, pants or gloves are made from a membrane firmly attached to effective inner layer and outer layer. This combination of layers is called the GORE-TEX® Laminate.

 

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To increase the efficiency to the GORE-TEX® Materials, Gore differentiates between various product categories, specified according to the area of usage and the weather conditions. Each category has a special combination of materials according to the performance and requirements, to bring you the best possible protection and comfort. The main three categories are:

    • GORE-TEX® products, created for wearing in the unstable weather conditions
    • GORE-TEX® ACTIVE products suitable for high activity level
    • GORE-TEX® PRO products created to keep up with your highest demands during extremely high activity levels and extreme conditions – rain, snow or ice

You can get more information about each kind of membrane in our separate blog posts dedicated to the various GORE-TEX® Laminate categories.

 

 


GORE-TEX® PRODUCTS IN SPORT CONRAD ONLINESHOP


Sport Conrad has been working with the manufacturer Gore since the early 80’s. Apart from the typical GORE-TEX® products such as Jackets or Pants, we also offer waterproof GORE-TEX® gloves. Good footwear is definitely one of the most important parts for your outdoor equipment, which can make you feel great, but also ruin your whole experience. At Sport Conrad you can find a large selection of GORE-TEX® mountaineering boots, hiking and trekking boots or approach shoes. And for someone who has always cold feet, we offer a variety of warm winter boots made from GORE-TEX® materials.

The GORE® WINDSTOPPER® products are very convincing by their absolute windproofness, extreme breathability and water-resistance. You can find in our Online Shop many products with the GORE® WINDSTOPPER® membrane, such as hats, jackets, pants and gloves. If you take well care of your GORE-TEX® products, you can count on their functionality for many walked kilometers, hundreds of cycled roads and trails and lots of conquered mountains. Visit our blog that will tell you all the tips and tricks about the right GORE-TEX® products care.

 

 

Would you like to know more about GORE-TEX® Products and its technology? Get more information here:

GORE-TEX® Active: The breathing shell
GORE-TEX® Pro: The high-protective shell
GORE-TEX® Wash & Care instruction

*Fotocredit: © www.gore-tex.de