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I've got a pretty good understanding of how GoreTex works.

I understand that the outside chemical coating effectivly holds water off the outer layer (using little chemical spikes).

But I can't quite seem to find out what the coating on the outside (when new) is? What's it's name or chemical symbols, etc?

the reason I'm asking (and is also a secondary question) is, do the standard replacement products (all of which are not made by GoreTex themselves) contain the same chemical, exactly?

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I suggest flagging this question for migration to Chemistry. – Mr.Wizard Feb 7 '14 at 16:18
up vote 7 down vote accepted

The chemical coating on the outside when new is what is commonly known as DWR and chemically known as a Fluoropolymer. Fluoropolymer is a fluorocarbon based polymer with multiple strong carbon–fluorine bonds. It is characterized by a high resistance to solvents, acids, and bases.

This is the same chemical treatment used on all water resistant fabrics.

Gore-Tex uses this coating to prevent the outer layer of fabric from becoming saturated with water. This saturation, called 'wetting out,' can reduce the garment's breathability (moisture transport through the breathable membrane) and let water through.

As the DWR wears off over time, re-treatment is recommended when necessary.

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DWR (durable water replant) and Flouropolymers are groups of chemicals. I'm after the actual specific chemical itself? Like I say in the question. I want to know if the replacement chemicals are exactly the same as I believe they are not. – Liam Jan 10 '14 at 13:25
On a side note, coincidently, Dwr (pronunced duwer) is the welsh word for water :) – Liam Jan 10 '14 at 13:27
@Liam I am working on getting the exact fluoropolymer they use, I will then edit my answer. Thanks! – AM_Hawk Jan 10 '14 at 13:55
There are non-FluroCarbon DWR treatments as well, such as those produced by NikWax ( I don't think they publicise the chemical(s) used, probably due to it being commercially sensitive. – Paul Lydon Apr 8 '14 at 16:05
@PaulLydon NikWax is great I use the spray on after washing and toss it in the dryer, it works really well to revive water resistant garments! I was actually surprised at how well it worked. – AM_Hawk Apr 9 '14 at 12:56

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