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W.L. Gore Opens New World-Class Fabrics Testing Facility

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W.L. Gore & Associates is expanding its product testing capabilities.

The technology company opened a new Biophysics lab and a Heat and Flame Protection lab on Dec. 2, which will allow lab facilities to evaluate component material properties, Gore laminates and fully constructed garments in enhanced conditions.

“Gore’s new world-class facilities can simulate from the most common to the most extreme environmental conditions, from a cold, damp drizzle in Scotland to the scorching heat of a California wildfire,” Gore Fabrics Division technical leader Paul Canatella said. He added, “By creating real-world conditions in a lab environment we can scientifically measure and analyze the impact of a product on human perception and performance in a controlled environment and then quickly apply that data to our product research and development efforts.”

The new facilities will heighten Gore’s innovative fabric product development with real-world conditions. Gore will conduct extensive testing in the new Biophysics lab to project the effects of activity, apparel and the environment on the human body. At the new facilities, Gore can test products for performance, protection, breathability and comfort while replicating the environment for future apparel use.

In the Biophysics Lab, the Environmental Chamber can create up to 95 percent of environments on the Earth’s surface, allowing Gore to measure fabric product performance in specific conditions and collect wearer protection data.

From the frigid temperatures on Everest to the heat of Death Valley, the Environmental Chamber replicates a complete solar cycle from sunrise to sunset and maintains accurate temperature control from -50 degrees Celsius to +50 degrees Celsius. The Biophysics Lab also features a Rain Tower, which simulates worldwide rainfall rates and is very useful in determining the impact of wind-driven rain on water repellent garments.

The Heat and Flame Protection lab enables Gore to analyze products’ burn protection abilities, including flame resistance, thermal insulation and thermal stability. A Cone Calorimeter allows Gore engineers to measure fabrics’ heat release characteristics. For other potential fire situations, the lab also features a Stored Thermal Energy Tester to measure burn time and the Pyrolysis Combustion Flow Calorimeter (PCFC)/Micro Combustion Calorimeter (MCC) to characterize heat release and fire-preventing char generation.

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