Earlier than Gore-Tex was invented, there have been loads of supplies to guard you from harsh climate, however all of them got here with commerce-offs. Waxed cotton was heavy. Vinyl might drown you in your personal sweat. Seal gut (intestine parka!) was favored by the Inuit however hardly made sense for mass manufacturing. That stated, Bob Gore wasn’t trying to enhance outerwear when he created Gore-Tex. Working in his father’s Teflon manufacturing unit within the late Nineteen Sixties, he was merely making an attempt to make extra environment friendly use of the plastic by stretching it. He by accident discovered that yanking Teflon crammed it with air pockets. And never solely that: The micropores that appeared in his “expanded polytetrafluoroethylene” have been seven hundred occasions bigger than a water vapor molecule however 20,000 occasions smaller than a droplet. Gore reasoned that in case you made a cloth out of ePTFE, you might block out rain whereas nonetheless venting steamy perspiration—with wind safety as a bonus. The primary Gore-Tex jacket was manufactured in 1977 by a small Seattle firm referred to as Early Winters and marketed as “probably probably the most versatile piece of clothes you’ll ever put on.” Since then, ePTFE has confirmed far more versatile than that and is now present in every thing from area fits to coronary heart patches. It’s definitely higher suited to these trendy purposes than seal gut ever could possibly be.
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