W. L. Gore & Associates spent four years working on the development of a new technology to protect wearers from heat and flame. The solution was ultimately found in the GORE PYRAD Fabric Technology: “This technology is the first of its kind to add heat and flame protection properties to the wear comfort of conventional lightweight fabrics such as polyamide and polyester — normally textiles without heat protection and flame resistance attributes,” the company explains.
In situations involving sudden heat or flame exposure (flash fires) the self-extinguishing functional fabric forms an insulating charred layer with the result that the flame does not burn a hole in the fabric. As this has nothing to do with a finishing treatment having been applied to the fabric, the function is retained over the entire lifetime of the product.
The GORE PYRAD Fabric Technology is used in military combat gear without a membrane as well as with the GORE-TEX membrane for weather protection. The initial results are impressive: Military combat gear with GORE PYRAD Fabric Technology reduces the severity of injuries when compared with cotton and polyester blends, according to the company. “In comparison with flame resistant materials (e.g. aramid/viscose) the technology represents a significantly improved durability — which is exactly what the armed forces have been calling for,” the company continues. “Even after repeated washing at high temperatures colours will not fade. Likewise, onexposure to UV radiation the camouflage pattern is hardly affected by fading. The material picks up very little water and dries quickly.”
Military camouflage clothing, including jackets, trousers and combat shirts, using this radically new technology have been successfully tested in the field by the SOF of several European militaries.