Expanded PTFE (or ePTFE), like regular PTFE, is an incredibly versatile and rugged material. And like PTFE, ePTFE began as an accident. Before we can get to that, however, we should start at the beginning.
What is the history of ePTFE? When his ideas for expanding the use of PTFE was turned down by his employers at DuPont, chemist Wilbert “Bill” Gore left the company to start his own. And in 1958 Gore and his wife Genevive “Vive” Gore founded W.L. Gore and Associates out of the basement of their Delaware home. During this time, Gore’s company began to serve the burgeoning computer industry by using PTFE to insulate multiple copper conductors and fashion them into ribbon cable resulting in a product known as MULTI-TET.
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As the years went on it became clear to Gore that trends in computer technologies meant that computers were becoming smaller and smaller, resulting in the need for less cables for circuitry. In 1968, Gore tasked his son, Robert “Bob” Gore, to come up with a solution. One night in October 1969, Bob Gore was researching a new process for stretching extruded PTFE into pipe-thread tape when he discovered that the polymer could be “expanded.”
After several failed experiments in which Bob tried to slowly expand the material even further, he became frustrated and yanked the material. As it turned out, this was the exact conditions PTFE needed to become expanded. This sudden yank resulted in the transformation of solid PTFE into a microporous structure that was about 70% air. This material would later become known as ePTFE, or Gore-Tex.
Today, ePTFE is used in a wide variety of applications. These applications include:
- And much more
Interested in learning more about ePTFE and how Advanced EMC Technologies can offer you premiere sealing solutions? Contact us today!