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Founder of Gore-Tex material that keeps golfers dry on rainy days dies

Robert W. Gore, a chemical engineer and businessman, created the material in 1969 while researching how to improve plumbing tape

Died: Robert W. Gore, the inventor of the Gore-Tex material known to golfers worldwide as making their game playable on rainy days, died Thursday at a family home in Maryland. He was 83 and had suffered from an undisclosed long-term illness. Gore, a chemical engineer who led the company founded by his father, W.L. Gore & Associates, discovered a new form of a polymer in 1969 at a company lab in Newark, Del. He was researching ways to produce plumbing tape using PTFE, commonly known as Teflon, according to an obituary in The News Journal newspaper of Wilmington, Del. When Gore stretched PTFE with a sudden yank, 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. The membrane within Gore-Tex fabric features billions of pores that are smaller than water droplets, leading to products such as golf rainsuits that are waterproof but breathable.

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