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[W.R.Gore & Associates] A registered trademark for a series of microporous, waterproof fabrics containing a membrane of expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE, see also Teflon). GORE-TEX® fabrics were first manufactured in 1972. The 2-layer GORE-TEX® fabric is composed of the PTFE film laminated to nonwoven 100% polyester Hollytex fabric which can be heat-sealed. GORE-TEX® has pore sizes of up to 0.2 micrometers. It is impermeable to any liquid such as water, solvents, acids, alkalis, bleaches, insecticides as well as bacteria, and viruses. However, it transmits moisture and other vapors. Thus, it is waterproof but breathable. It is used for waterproof and bacteria-proof clothing which are made by laminating or sandwiching the film between other fabrics. In conservation, GORE-TEX® membrane has been used to prevent moisture buildup within a sealed environment. It has been used for localized vapor-phase treatments to remove stains and soften adhesives (Keyes 1988). GORE-TEX is also used to correct wrinkles, curled areas and align tears. It can withstand temperatures up to 135C (275F) and will block over 90% of ultraviolet rays.

Note: Prior to 2002, GORE-TEX® was available with a 1/16" polyester felt back.

Synonyms and Related Terms

GORE-TEX; PTFE; Teflon [DuPont]; Goretex (Esp.); Gore-tex (Ned);

Personal Risks

Does not burn in flame but emits HF at temps above 215C.

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Highly resistant to acids, alkalis, organic solvents and bleaches.
  • Surface is hydrophobic but may be wet with many organic solvents, such as ethanol, acetic acid.
  • Tenacity = 0.5-1.4 g/denier;
  • Elongation = 15-32 %;
  • Moisture regain = 0%;
  • Melting point = 300 C (dec);
  • Density = 2.1-2.3 g/ml

Resources and Citations

  • K.Keyes, "Some Practical Methods for the Treatment with Moisture of Moisture Sensitive Works on Paper", AIC, 1988.
  • Hoechst Celanese Corporation, Dictionary of Fiber & Textile Technology (older version called Man-made Fiber and Textile Dictionary, 1965), Hoechst Celanese Corporation, Charlotte NC, 1990
  • Richard C. Wolbers, Nanette T. Sterman, Chris Stavroudis, Notes for Workshop on New Methods in the Cleaning of Paintings, J.Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles, 1990
  • Pam Hatchfield, Pollutants in the Museum Environment, Archetype Press, London, 2002
  • Marie Svoboda, Conservation Survey Index, unpublished, 1997
  • Meredith Montague, contributed information, 1998
  • Conservation Support Systems, Catalog, 1997
  • Marjory L. Joseph, Introductory Textile Science, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Fort Worth, TX, 1986