When outfitting a warrior for battle, the right textile technology can make the difference between success and failure. The scientists at W. L. Gore & Associates understand this principle, and for more than 30 years have taken a lead developing revolutionary, next-generation textiles for the military.
In that time, Gore’s Military Fabrics business has worked closely with all branches of the US Military assessing emerging threats around the globe and, in response, developing textile products engineered to protect personnel and support mission success.
Gore’s Military Fabrics business innovations include dozens of textile technologies. Examples include a variety GORE-TEX® fabrics, a durable fabric cool enough to be worn in the tropics; a lightweight fire-resistant (FR) laminate that makes fabric self-extinguishing; and boots that stay comfortable and dry inside in the jungle.
Gore and its flagship product, GORE-TEX® fabric, are well-known for high-performing cool and cold weather outerwear products that are waterproof, windproof and breathable. Now, the same proprietary ePTFE technology that protects against wet and cold conditions is also being utilised in fiber form. When woven with other fibers such as cotton and nylon, it becomes the foundation for a fabric ideal for extended wear in the world’s hottest, most humid environments.
With the addition of Gore’s ePTFE technology, the fabric is lighter than the typical nylon / cotton blend fabrics used in current combat uniforms. It is also durable and dries significantly quicker in laboratory tests than the typical nylon / cotton blends, and is also highly air permeable, yet meets the US Department of Defense no-melt, no-drip requirements.
Hot weather combat boots
Gore has also developed a combat boot that is ideal for tropical climates.
The new GORE-TEX® Extended Comfort boot is the world’s first durably waterproof combat boot designed for hot weather locations.
Tested extensively by Gore, the Extended Comfort boot combines moisture wicking, breathability, low water pick-up and dry out all in one fabric. The construction is based on the company’s revolutionary Extended Comfort laminate, making it the world’s first functional military boot without a separate loose lining.
The perfect companion to the jungle uniform, the GORE-TEX® Extended Comfort Boot has been engineered to perform well in the toughest hot environments. The boot’s attached, three-layer construction is made from an abrasion-resistant outer layer bonded to a highly breathable GORE-TEX® membrane and a moisture wicking inner layer, with all three layers combined into a single-wall laminate.
Protection from chemical and biological contaminants
Always focused on the next innovation, Gore scientists have also invented a textile membrane for clothing worn by hazardous materials workers that minimises thermal impact. It works by allowing perspiration vapour to escape, and is designed to be worn for extended periods of time. This is the basis of a new product line of personal protective equipment (PPE) and chemical / biological protective clothing systems (CPSC).
This includes GORE® CHEMPAK® products, which are currently used in extended response team (XRT) suits and a two-piece stretch undergarment. This technology protects against a wide variety of chemicals, hazardous materials, and even biologic agents.
Fire-retardant fabric / clothing
GORE® PYRAD® flame-retardant is another Gore innovation. More than fire-resistant, GORE® PYRAD® is a revolutionary, self-extinguishing, lightweight laminate that provides durable protection against arc flash and flash fire exposure without compromising thermal stability, comfort, fiber integrity, breathability, and protection from the elements.
GORE® PYRAD® does not compromise Gore’s signature lightweight, breathable, waterproof qualities. At the same time, GORE® PYRAD® delivers twice the level of thermal protective performance (TPP) as traditional FR fabrics of the same weight.
Breathable wear for firefighters
GORE® PARALLON™ Liner system is another new high-performance innovation. A turnout gear composite for firefighters, the GORE® PARALLON™ liner system offers the highest levels of breathability in a broad range of conditions, and better maintains thermal protection when the gear gets wet from sweat, as compared with conventional turnouts. In other words, it helps firefighters reduce heat stress and stay protected while working a scene.
Continual R&D: more on the way
All of these innovations point to the fact that Gore is not just creating products made from traditional GORE-TEX® fabrics, but is continually developing amazing new high-performance products based on the ePTFE technology. It also underscores the vital role Gore has and continues to play developing advanced protective fabrics for the US Military and the company’s commitment to product leadership.
Gore’s ongoing research and development efforts, its rigorous testing and continual field trials support the company’s promise to engineering truly innovative products that give war fighters a winning edge.