New GORE® THERMIUM™ apparel at retail since autumn 2016 should not only be soft and lightweight, it should also maintain its insulating effect even in wind and light rain. Even when you sweat, its insulating power should be remain as effective as possible. How does that work?
GORE® THERMIUM™ product data
GORE® THERMIUM™ products should keep their insulation dry. So we exposed these pieces to a light rain in our rain room to determine how much moisture penetrates the insulation and thus how much the insulating power is compromised. After 90 minutes in the chamber, the insulation had to retain at least 90 per cent of its capacity to retain the warmth it began with. Even pieces that were already being used and had been laundered a few times. The well-known hydrostatic head test (for measuring waterproofness) is in no way appropriate for this. That’s because I didn’t want to know how much water pressure the laminate could withstand. Rather, I am solely interested in whether the insulation still performs well. For the next test, we simulated sweating and then observed how the insulating effect of the test pieces changed. The more intense the effort, the thinner the insulation should be. A thickly insulated piece would always be too warm during training and fitness-oriented activities and moisture would accumulate, either with or without a membrane. Thus, the outer shell should not be too big of a barrier for moisture. All fabric laminates used for the GORE® THERMIUM™ brand have a breathability value of RET 4 m²Pa/W or less. RET stands for “evaporative resistance of a textile”, representing its resistance to moisture transfer. The lower the RET value, the better. Values under RET 6 m²Pa/W count as extremely breathable. GORE® THERMIUM™ falls below this threshold value by more than 30 per cent. Some of these products even have a RET value less than 2 m²Pa/W, which is super. The RET value of textiles alone is less relevant for a completed piece of apparel with layered laminate construction. Depending on the thickness of the insulation and the characteristics of the lining, resistance can be either somewhat or much larger. When it comes to apparel, one must thus consider the breathability of the entire construction including insulation and lining materials. That’s why all components of GORE® THERMIUM™ pieces are geared toward keeping the insulation as dry as possible. I have measured the entire layered laminate construction of a prototype and found a value of 43 m²Pa/W. That means that the Gore laminate used in this piece with a RET of just 1.9 m2Pa/W represented a mere 4 per cent of the entire resistance. That is sensational! Herein lies the strength of the components we deliver. Naturally, these values cannot be generalised; they apply just to the jackets tested, and that value could deviate higher or lower in other models.
What about the environmental friendliness and care of GORE® THERMIUM™ products?
The understanding people now have that the natural environment can be damaged through their actions has brought about a stronger, more distinct environmental awareness in users. That’s why this aspect is also a significant driver in the conception of new products. That includes the manufacturing, the use as well as the care and disposal of products. GORE® THERMIUM™ textile laminate by the way fulfils all of the criteria of the Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 and will be manufactured in production facilities complying with bluesign® standards. GORE® THERMIUM™ apparel can be washed without an issue – best is to machine wash at warm settings (40°C or 90°F) using liquid detergent, two rinse cycles, and if possible a low spin speed. After washing, best to hang dry or, alternatively, dry on a warm dryer cycle (60°C). After drying, let it tumble in the dryer for an additional 20 minutes on a warm (60°C) temperature or iron it on a low temperature to reactive the waterproof impregnation (DWR). Have fun and do have a super experience wearing GORE® THERMIUM™ products!