Credit: Chloe Watts
Today, the official GORE-TEX Twitter account has confirmed the news of Bob Gore’s passing. Gore was the creator of GORE-TEX, the breathable and waterproof fabric that went on to revolutionise outdoor and sportswear.
In 1969, while working for his father’s company WL Gore & Associates, Gore was researching a way to manufacture plumber’s tape at a low-cost using PTFE, also known as Dupont’s Teflon. After exposing the PTFE to certain conditions and slowly stretching, to no success, Gore decided he would have one last try. This time he decided to quickly stretch the PTFE and was shocked when it doubled in length. He found the PTFE had lots of benefits in its expanded form. Most notable, it was stronger and had pores smaller than water droplets.
— GORE-TEX Products NA (@GORETEXna) September 18, 2020
Having discovered the power of expanded PTFE, Gore applied for a patent for product technologies and in 1976 the company received its first commercial order for GORE-TEX fabric.
Over the years GORE-TEX has gone on to make appearances in a variety of products from space suits to shoes, guitar strings and sportswear.
While Gore stepped down as president of WL Gore & Associates in 2000, he received many awards for his contributions to science. Gore passed away on 17 September at his home in Earlville, Md. He was 83 and is survived by his wife as well as children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.