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All Gore-Tex e’rything

GORE-TEX is made of two layers of nylon and a layer of Teflon. Teflon was discovered by mistake in 1938 by a chemist who was trying to make an improved refrigerator. It’s probably best known as a quality of non-stick saucepans or non-stick politicians, but chemically, Teflon has some pretty interesting properties.

The Teflon in GORE-TEX is the perfect material for outdoor performance clothing. It’s light, smooth and flexible, but interestingly isn’t 100% waterproof. It’s full of 1 micrometre holes, (1 millionth of a metre), which are too small for a raindrop to penetrate. A raindrop is about 20,000 times the size of the each of the holes in the teflon.

Sounding pretty watertight so far, right? Well that’s because we’re only talking about water in liquid form.

When you sweat, you produce steam: water in its gaseous form. The individual water molecules are not as close together and are about 700 times smaller than the holes in GORE-TEX.

This is why GORE-TEX is so smart. It allows perspiration to move away from the body, but it keeps you dry from the elements. Perfect for outdoor activities like mountain walking or standing in the rain at a festival.

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