Gore-Tex announces thinner, more durable membrane for clothing and footwear

Officially, WL Gore & Associates calls their new product creation an expanded polyethylene membrane, but for fans to stay dry outdoors, the next Gore-Tex product features a thinner, lighter, and more durable material for a use in a litany of brands, from Adidas to Arc’teryx, Salmon to Ziener, and Dakine to Patagonia.

The new membrane technology, scheduled for launch in Fall / Winter 2022, is called ePE by Gore. By combining expanded polyethylene with polyurethane, the result creates a durably waterproof, windproof and breathable membrane in about half the thickness.

“As an organization specializing in materials science and innovation, we are committed to using our expertise to continuously explore advances in materials,” said Ross MacLaine, global leader in fabric sustainability at Gore.

Gore says the material takes advantage of a high strength-to-weight ratio for a thin, light product that allows for durability. Although microporous polyethylene has been available for years, these materials lacked the durability required for waterproof, windproof and breathable clothing. The challenge was therefore to make it work for the Gore-Tex brand. By handling polyethylene, Gore can create a very porous and strong polymer reinforcement. In fact, the billions of tiny holes in the material being handled allow steam to pass through to make it breathable, while retaining water and wind.

“The membrane material is the functional basis of a larger system,” says Matt Decker, world leader in technology and innovation for consumer fabrics. “It is a microporous material which is a wonderful scaffolding as a base material to create waterproof and breathable fabrics.”

The new membrane also cuts the thickness in half compared to current membranes, which means it fits easily into finished products, from clothing to shoes to accessories, as Gore has proven. extensive field and laboratory testing.

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The ePE with polyurethane exploits the right combination of characteristics for thin and light durability and this membrane can then bond with textiles to form a Gore-Tex laminate. Laminate is used by customers, the biggest brands in the outdoor space, to create finished products in the consumer space.

“Much of the knowledge we have developed over the past 40 years is not specific to a single material,” Decker explains. “This expertise and deep understanding of our applications allows us to create complementary and sustainable ePE products for use in Gore-Tex brand consumer products.

The ePE also reduces Gore’s carbon footprint, as measured by Higg MSI, in product creation by producing a material free of PFCs of environmental concern using non-fluorinated materials. The low mass of the membrane also helps to reduce the carbon footprint of the material and helps achieve the brand’s goal of being free of PFCs of environmental concern.

“EPe is a natural extension of our history and linked to our heritage,” Decker says, adding that the material will help Gore-Tex “move forward” in terms of durability and performance.

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