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Gore Unveils New Fabrics Testing Facility

40 Years of Innovating Comfort and Protection

W.L. Gore & Associates (Gore) advanced its products testing capabilities with the opening of new Biophysics and Heat and Flame Protection labs. For this, the company has invited international media representatives from all industries to showcase their new lab facilities, which allow the company’s engineers to measure the properties of component materials, Gore laminates and fully constructed garments, and footwear in new, expanded, and relevant conditions.

 The new facilities, in which a lot of government contracts are being done, further Gore’s capability to develop innovative fabrics with distinct functionality that are proven to perform in real-world conditions before they are brought to the market. An Environmental Chamber can recreate 85-95% of the world’s environments, allowing the company 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. This camber, and its rain tower can simulate environmental conditions, such as temperature (-50-50°C), relative humanity (5-98%), wind speed (0.4-10m/s), and natural solar radiation (0-1,100W/sqm). “We are able to simulate solar radiation,” Matthew Decker, Global Technical Leader – Comfort Core Group, said .”We can match the solar emission spectra.” The rain tower matches temperatures of 5-25°C at wind speeds of 0.4-5m/s wind speeds. This is critical in testing the impact of wind-driven rain on various aspects of water protection and comfort, such as how garment water gain affects the user’s perception of warmth and bulk, explained Decker.

Next to this, a new Heat and Flame Protection Lab allows Gore to precisely measure and analyse the ability of its products to provide the three key elements of burn protection:Fame resistance, thermal insulation, and thermal stability. Here, next to comfort, protection from heat and flames are tested in this new Heat and Flame Protection Lab, where Gore analyses thermal insulation and thermal stability in addition to “self-extinguishing” flame resistant functionality of materials. Key capabilities of this lab include: A clone calorimeter enables engineers to measure heat release characteristics of fabrics, one of the most important variables to measure when developing garments that protect against heat and flame sources. The cone calorimeter exposes materials to a constant head flux from cone shaped radiant heater and measure heat release and smoke generation, at a variable output up to 100kW/sqm, matching the PYROMAN fire retardant clothing test.

 Furthermore a stored thermal energy tester evaluates time to burn in low heat flux scenarios, where e.g. firefighters could experience sweat burns from standing outside a fire. A pyrolysis combustion flow calorimeter (PCFC)/micro combustion calorimeter (MCC) allows Gore to rapidly characterise heat release and fire-preventing char generation in the raw materials used to make the company’s products.

 Shawn Riley, Global Technical Lader, Hear &Flame Protection Group Leader, explained that soldiers need to be effective in his job, needs to be mobile, still be protected from fire, and be comfortable enough, as not to worry about what he/she is wearing. Gore has gone from military and fire-fighting threats to new threats in new markets, e.g. oil & gas.

 Heat and flame protection for Gore include Flame Resistance (self-extinguishing with no melt or drip), Thermal Insulation (barrier to heat protection), and Thermal Stability (no break open or shrinkage). “Our challenge is to find meaningful correlations between the material and composite level tests to maintain rapid innovation in Heat & Flame Protective Fabrics,” Riley explained.


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