Robert W. Gore, whose invention of what created the breathable yet waterproof fabric known as Gore-Tex revolutionized outdoor apparel and helped generate uses in numerous other fields, is dead. He was 83 years old.
Gore, who was president of WL Gore & Associates for nearly 25 years and president of the company for 30 years, died Thursday in a family home in Maryland following a prolonged illness, company spokeswoman Amy Calhoun confirmed Saturday .
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Gore discovered a new form of polymer in 1
The son found that by stretching the PTFE with a sudden tear, the polymer expanded by 1,000 percent. The resulting product, known as ePTFE, created a microporous structure. The introduction of Gore-Tex technology came seven years later.
“It was truly a milestone in the history of this company,” Greg Hannon, W.L. Last year, the Chief Technology Officer of Gore & Associates said. “Without which we would be much less important to an organization than we are today.”
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The membrane inside the Gore-Tex fabric has billions of pores that are smaller than water droplets, leading to raincoats, shoes and other waterproof but breathable clothing. The patents eventually led to countless other uses with medical devices, guitar strings, and in space travel, the company said.
Gore was born in Utah, the eldest of five children of Bill and Vieve Gore, who both founded the company in 1958. Bill Gore had previously joined the DuPont workforce and eventually arrived in Delaware.
Bob Gore earned his BA in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware and his Masters degree from the University of Minnesota. He succeeded his father as the company’s president and CEO in 1976. Gore and his family contributed funds for buildings and engineering labs at the University of Delaware.
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Gore is survived by his wife, Jane, as well as children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The memorial plans were not immediately announced by the company.