GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology: Lightweight and weatherproof with FR protection

GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology
Written by W. L. Gore & Associates

In today’s combat landscape, clothing systems that incorporate fire retardant properties have become essential. At any given time, IED’s and other explosives can set off a destructive, fiery blast and managing this issue through conflicts in regions such as Iraq and Afghanistan has been very difficult.

Flame retardant (FR) treatments for textiles do exist, but many are also stiff, heavy and inhibit apparel breathability. As a result, it’s hard to maneuver, run or stay even moderately comfortable in many climates when wearing traditional clothing with FR protection. At the same time, combat apparel that does not have FR protection exposes war fighters to life threatening burns.

With these scenarios in mind, the scientists at W. L. Gore & Associates (Gore) developed a new laminate called GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology that provides an advanced level of FR protection in military apparel combined with an unprecedented level of comfort.

In development for over five years and on the market for three, GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology is a laminate technology that can incorporate a waterproof, windproof, breathable GORE-TEX membrane for increased protection against inclement weather.

GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology is actually self-extinguishing, and apparel made from this technology can minimize fire injury, while offering a high level of thermal protection per unit weight, as demonstrated in manikin flash fire test (ASTM F1903) and arc flash tests (ASTM F1959). The technology also enables products to self-extinguish even in the presence of residual compounds. Based on the end application, garments made with GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology can also be engineered with static dissipation properties to minimize the possibility of static discharge igniting flammable materials.

At the same time, GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology apparel products are light weight and drapable, plus breathable. During intense physical activities, garments made with the GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology laminate allow sweat evaporation, which reduces heat exhaustion. At the other end of the temperature spectrum, these garments do not hinder freedom of movement – even at very low temperatures.

Compared to traditional flame resistant technologies, GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology garments also have superior abrasion resistance and colorfastness, which enhance service life.

Foremost, GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology products can help save lives, and reduce or even prevent horrific burns. Flame tests filmed at the famed PyroMan fire labs at NC State University tell that story. In the video below, combat fatigues that integrate the GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology laminate self-extinguish after less than five seconds when torched with a heavy flame, demonstrating low levels of burn injury as reflected in low incidents of second and third degree burns.

Today, the U.S. Marine Corps is using GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology in its 10 and 15-man shelters and the Italian Special Forces use GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology in their battle dress uniforms. Gore has also developed a hard shell jacket constructed of a GORE-TEX membrane and GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology, which is being evaluated by the U.S. Army.

You can learn more on our website. But for now, we invite you to see for yourself and watch the video below.


GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology Test Comparison

Written by W. L. Gore & Associates

GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology is an innovative, self-extinguishing fabric technology that adds heat and flame protection properties to non-flame retardant (FR) textiles. When laminated to nylon, polyester, and other fabrics, GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology provides excellent protection against heat and fire by balancing flame resistance, thermal insulation, and thermal stability.

The use of traditional non-FR textiles allows garments to leverage key attributes of the non-FR textile, such as low water pick-up, abrasion resistance, and production of FR high-visibility fabrics. Without GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology, traditional non-FR textiles continue to propagate flame, exhibit melting and dripping, and increase the potential of burn injury.

GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology increases thermal protective performance and reduces potential for burn injury. It also offers an improvement in thermal stability by maintaining physical integrity after exposure.

A Combat Boot that Breathes

Written by W. L. Gore & Associates

Walking for miles in hot environments, whether arid or humid, can be brutal for war fighters on the march. But it’s also serious business. Your typical leather combat boot designed for durability in rough terrains can cause excessive internal micro-climate overheating. The resulting chafing, blisters, fungi and bacterial infections can easily stop war fighters in their tracks. Literally.

Foot issues such as those have a serious, detrimental impact on mission success, especially in environments that are very hot. Add water or perspiration to the equation and you have a recipe for distress. At the same time, the US military may increasingly be called into action in hot climates. In a recent keynote address at the annual Eisenhower lunch at the AUSA show in Washington DC, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley stated that the US Army, through its strategic planning and review of global conditions, expects to see an increasing number of conflicts to occur in tropical regions in the years ahead.

Factoring all of this in, the scientists at W. L. Gore & Associates (Gore) have developed a new boot technology designed for comfort and protection throughout potentially long missions that provides durable waterproofness, quick dry-out and high breathability in multiple climates. Extended-Comfort-Cutaway

Called GORE-TEX Extended Comfort Technology, this innovation lives up to its name in a number of key ways. For the military, it can offer lightweight comfort and protection in jungle or desert environments, and throughout most warm-to-temperate climates. The fact that it’s lighter than the typical leather combat boot means it also reduces leg and foot fatigue. A single boot for multiple seasons, GORE-TEX Extended Comfort Footwear is also designed to provide lightweight comfort and protection for law enforcement patrol and tactical officers.

GORE-TEX Extended Comfort Footwear is the world’s first functional military boot with a separate loose, single-wall lining that incorporates a GORE-TEX membrane with a moisture-wicking inner layer. The lining also has a rugged, abrasion-resistant nylon outer layer.

Due to this boot’s unique single-wall construction, GORE-TEX Extended Comfort Footwear not only protect feet from outside moisture, but from perspiration as well, by allowing moisture vapor to escape at a very high level. Additionally, the construction conducts heat away from the foot, which results in a cooler foot, even in very hot external temperatures. Meanwhile, laboratory tests prove that GORE-TEX Extended Comfort boots retain 90% less water than traditional non-waterproof boots. In other words, it’s ideal for tropical settings. GORE-TEX Extended Comfort Footwear

Several brand partners including Belleville, Reebok and STC now sell footwear designed with GORE-TEX Extended Comfort Technology. You can learn more about this revolutionary boot technology here in the technology section of the Gore Military Fabrics Blog, on our website at goreprotectivefabrics.com.

The Navy Will Pay Big Bucks to Change Their Navy Working Uniforms

Written by W. L. Gore & Associates

Replacing the Navy Working Uniform Type I will cost the service about $180 million over a five-year period, Kit Up reported.

The soon-to-be-discontinued uniforms, introduced in 2009, cost the Navy $229 million to develop. The outfit has been criticized for it’s ineffective “blueberry” camouflage, which only conceals sailors after they’ve fallen into the water. The suit’s nylon material melts when exposed to fire, raising further safety concerns.

Due to the high cost, The Senate recently added a provision to the National Defense Authorization Act requiring the Defense Department provide advanced notice to Congress before developing new camouflage.

The Navy will begin issuing NWU Type III, replacement uniforms, in October 2017 and will eliminate Type I by the fall of 2019.

Read the full story here.

Army Launches New Department: The Rapid Capabilities Office

Written by W. L. Gore & Associates

In an effort expedite critical defense technologies, Eric K. Fanning, the Secretary of the Army, has launched the Rapid Capabilities Office, Kit Up reported. The new department offers rapid prototyping to better address the needs of commanders.

Initially, the Office will focus on capabilities in electronic warfare and cybersecurity as well as navigation and timing. Fanning believes the new office will enable the U.S. military to advance dominance and confront emerging threats. The Office expects to impact military operations within one to five years.

Ultimately the Office intends to expand the solutions-capacity of chosen commanders in select operations. This differs from the Army Rapid Equipping Force, which works more broadly with forward-deployed units.

As Secretary of the Army, Fanning will head the board of directors while Doug Wiltsie, the Office’s director, leads daily operations. Wiltsie has an extensive background leading systems engineering operations for the Army. The office plans to collaborate with prominent warfighters throughout the prototyping process.

Read the full story here.

Uniform Changes Cost the Military Hundreds of Millions

Written by W. L. Gore & Associates

The Navy’s current phase-out of its Type I uniform, know as “aquaflage,” marks the latest in a series of costly outfit redesigns and modifications, CNN explained in a recent article.

Since 2002, the Pentagon has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on uniform upgrades and many of these didn’t last long. Replacing the Navy Working Uniform (NWU) Type I will cost roughly $180 million over a five-year period, a source told CNN.

The military previously relied on two uniforms, but after 9/11 branches began opting for distinct service cammies. This led to the development of seven unique uniforms in different patterns and colors. The new uniforms were designed to meet specific tactical requirements, boost morale, and help with recruiting.

The list of scrapped styles includes the green-and-gray Universal Camouflage Pattern, introduced to the Army in 2005 and replaced by the MultiCam Uniform in 2010. A 2012 Government Accountability Report later revealed the Universal Camouflage, which cost $3.2 million to develop, was never properly tested for its ability to conceal the wearer. Then, in 2012, the Navy dropped the Service Dress Khaki Uniform after only six years. Footwear has changed across all services as well.

In contrast, the Marine Corps has continued to use its Combat Utility Uniform, which was developed in 2002 for only $319,000.

Congress responded to the growing expense by cutting off funding for new camouflage designs in 2014.

Read the full story here.

Army Tests “Tropical” Uniforms in Hawaii

Written by W. L. Gore & Associates

An increase in jungle missions has prompted the Army to develop new Army Combat Uniforms, currently undergoing trials in Hawaii, Army Times reported. The news outlet recently talked with officials from Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) about their progress on these “tropical” outfits.

For the past 18 months, the Army has enlisted thousands of soldiers to test out potential uniforms in hopes of finalizing their product by the beginning of the fiscal year 2018. The ideal suit will be lightweight, quick-drying, comfortable and durable. NSRDEC and Program Executive Office Soldier are working with the 25th Infantry Division at their jungle school in Hawaii.

Soldiers were asked to test a “stripped down” version of the ACU, which included reduced pocket, nylon patches for the knees, the elbows and the seat, reinforced seams, and buttons instead of zippers. The Army is also testing a blouse with mesh vents along the shoulders.

Boots could be left unbloused thanks to the extra mesh material added at the base of the pant leg, which protects soldiers from insects and leeches. Other components currently under evaluation include a knit yoke that absorbs sweat from the lower back and a self-cooling combat shirt. The tests used a control group outfitted in the standard flame-resistant ACUs.

The Army is also testing eight separate materials for use in the new uniforms. Most consist of nylon-cotton blends, although some contain variant fibers such as extra-durable T420HT nylon, Aramids, and Cocona polyester, a material derived from coconut husks.

The NSRDEC hasn’t completed their analysis of the lab data and qualitative feedback yet. However, the Army Times was able to speak with soldiers about their experience during the trials. A 50/50 nylon-cotton blend and a T420HT nylon blend were notable favorites.

The Army’s standard combat boots are also on the chopping block because soldiers have complained the footwear holds too much water. In response, the NSRDEC has designed and is now testing five puncture-resistant alternatives — two with thick soles and three with thin “Panama” soles. They plan to present results to the PEO Soldier next winter.

Read the full story here.


The End of “Blueberries” Tops List of Naval Dress Code Announcements

Written by W. L. Gore & Associates

Today the Navy announced plans to discontinue it’s Working Uniform Type I, mockingly referred to as “aquaflage” and “blueberries,” Kit Up reported.

In its place, sailors will don the new NWU Type III, a forest-green camouflage developed by Naval Special Warfare Command. Sailors must transition to Type III by October 2019.

Aside from its unpopular pattern, Type I cammies weigh considerably more than its replacement.

The shift came as part of a series of apparel changes announced today by Naval officers. Beginning in 2020, Cold Weather Parkas will replace the current service dress uniform and other Naval outwear will become optional. Female chiefs can now wear men’s khaki pants without a belt and with their blouse tucked in. Women’s khaki pants should be available for purchase by the end of 2017.  Additionally, service sweatpants will soon sport a “NAVY” logo in reflective silver lettering and sailors may add select patches to their service uniforms at their commander’s discretion.

Read the full story here.


Three Game-Changing Projects for the Textile Industry

Written by W. L. Gore & Associates

Thanks to big leaps in innovation and technology, the textile industry has sharply rebounded from its pre-recession slump. Need proof? The Department of Defence recently invested $300 million in the Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA), a nonprofit textiles innovation hub housed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Textile Insights, a trade magazine, recently published an article profiling three of the cutting-edge projects pushing the industry forward:


  1. Dupont’s new line of conductive ink: These fully stretchable, washable, electronic inks are manufacture-ready and work with the standard screen-printing process. The product line was presented at the recent Smart Fabric Summit, in Washington DC, by Steven Willoughby, a marketing manager with DuPont Electronics and Communications. “Within five years, smart clothes will outsell smartphones,” Willoughby predicted.


  1. Athletix by Globe Manufacturing Company: This “smart” firefighter suit, developed through a private-public-academic partnership, integrates a Wearable Advanced Sensor Platform (WASP) system. It collects physical data while tracking the wearer’s on-site location, allowing firefighters to stay safe while pursuing a rescue. Athletix combines a wearable base layer with Zephyr Bioharness performance monitoring technology and TRX location tracking. Clare King, president of Propel, LLC, partnered with Globe, the Army, Homeland Security, and several New England colleges to develop this project.


  1. Tersus Solutions “water-free” textile cleaner: This Colorado-based company found a cleansing solution that doesn’t require water. The secret is a liquid carbon dioxide, which has been converted from gas using a proprietary process that involves pressurization. Tersus has financial backing from Patagonia and recently announced their launch with a large industrial laundry operation. The new product has several implications for the textile industry: reduced pollution and energy use, better maintenance for fabrics with electronic inks, and better cleaning options for heavy-duty, water absorbing military gear, such as a ballistic vest. The prospect of waterless laundry means textile designers can consider a wider range of materials and constructions as well.


Read the full story here.

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