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Beginning in fall 2022, select outdoor gear with GORE-TEX technology will boast a new expanded polyethylene (ePE) membrane the company says will improve durability and performance for products such as apparel, footwear, and accessories.
W.L. Gore & Associates, Elkton, Md., unveiled the technology breakthrough this morning. While it’s not new technology, Gore said it “expanded the polyethylene in just the right conditions and combined it with another polymer, polyurethane (PU), to create a new membrane.”
The company added that the consumer business of its fabrics division will be introducing the use of ePE as a “new complementary material platform to serve as the basis for their membrane technologies.”
Gore said select customers include (but aren’t limited to) Adidas, Arc’teryx, Dakine, Patagonia, Reusch, Salomon, and Ziener.
“The development of the materials is the starting point to building integrated and highly functioning systems,” said Matt Decker, global technical and innovation leader for consumer fabrics at Gore. “Combining ePE with polyurethane (PU) exploits its light, thin yet strong characteristics and creates a durably waterproof, windproof, and breathable membrane. The membrane can then be bonded to textiles (such as backer or face textiles) to form a GORE-TEX laminate. The laminate is used by customers to create finished products including footwear, gloves, and garments that are backed by the brand’s renowned Guaranteed to Keep You Dry promise.”
According to Gore, here are some benefits of the new ePE membrane:
- Leverages high strength-to-weight ratio to create extremely lightweight and thin composites that are still mechanically robust.
- Enables durable performance and a low environmental footprint.
- When combined with Polyurethane (PU), the result creates a durably waterproof, windproof, and breathable membrane.
- The combination of the ePE material and low membrane mass results in a lower carbon footprint, as measured by Higg MSI.
- Advances Gore Fabrics Division’s goal for being free of PFCs of Environmental Concern (PFCEC) over the lifecycle of its consumer products.
“As a materials science company, much of the knowledge that we’ve developed over the last 40 years isn’t specific to a singular material,” Decker said. “This expertise and deep understanding of our applications is what enables us to create complementary, durable ePE products for use in GORE-TEX brand consumer products.”