W. L. Gore & Associates, known for its scientific approach to product development and performance, has advanced its product testing capabilities with the opening of new Biophysics and Heat and Flame Protection labs in Elkton, Md.
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.
Gore said the new state-of-the-art facilities further its ability to develop innovative fabrics products with distinct functionality that are proven to perform in real-world conditions before they are brought to market.
This includes the Environmental Chamber that can re-create 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,” said 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 that 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 for the end-user, and can re-create a wide range of environmental conditions, such as extremes in temperature, relative humidity, wind and rain.
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 bench-top testing, sensored mannequins and human testing in the environmental chamber.
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.
“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.
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 said its 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 climbing the highest of peaks to focus on the summit with the confidence that their Gore-Tex gear will protect them from water and wind.
Founded in 1958 and headquartered in Newark, Del., Gore employs more than 10,000 associates worldwide.