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ePTFE and Its Impact on Individuals, Industry, and Society

Recipient: Robert (Bob) Gore

Speaker: Scott Gore

Sunday, April 28th

1:00 PM Reception
1:30 PM Banquet
2:30 PM Award Presentation and Lecture

Registration Required by April 23rd, 5 pm


DuPont Country Club

1001 Rockland Rd, Wilmington, DE 19803

Cost: $35/person, free for students/unemployed members - RSVP online



Robert W. Gore (Bob) is Chairman Emeritus of the board of directors at W. L. Gore & Associates, a global material science company dedicated to improving lives through advancements in technology. He assumed this role in 2018, after 57 years of service on the board, 30 of them as chairman. Bob also served as president of Gore from 1976 to 2000.

In 1957, while a sophomore at the University of Delaware, Bob supplied a key solution to an early manufacturing challenge for insulating a ribbon cable with PTFE that earned W. L. Gore & Associates its first patent. This was the first of Bob’s many patents which would lead to a multitude of Gore products and solutions that flourish today across industries including high performance outerwear, implantable medical devices, aerospace, automotive, environmental protection, and numerous other industries worldwide.

A born entrepreneur, Bob’s commitment to research and development led to his 1969 discovery of a versatile new polymer form, expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE). The introduction of this groundbreaking new material, along with Bob’s technical and business leadership skills, together opened myriad entrepreneurial opportunities for Gore.

Bob earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Delaware and his PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota. Through his long career he has received many honors, among them induction into the Inventors Hall of Fame and election to the National Academy of Engineers. He received the 2005 Society for Chemical Industry’s Perkin Medal, the highest award in the United States designated for an industrial chemist, and the 2003 Winthrop-Sears Medal, from The Chemists’ Club and the Chemical Heritage Foundation, now the Science History Institute. Bob was also an active member of the American Chemical Society.

Bob has a passion for technical innovation and fostering growth of future scientists and engineers in the local community. His commitment to higher education is evident in his trusteeship at the University of Delaware, his service on the University of Delaware Research Foundation, and the gift he and his mother, Vieve Gore, made in 1998 for the construction of a state-of-the-art classroom building on the University’s green, which was christened Gore Hall in honor of his family.

Bob and his wife Jane are Delaware residents and have a large family of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


Since its discovery in 1938, Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) has become a material famous for its chemical inertness, excellent electrical insulation properties, water repellency, and exceptionally low friction characteristics. In 1969, Robert “Bob” Gore discovered another highly unusual property of PTFE; when drawn rapidly while hot, a solid PTFE object transforms into an expanded form known as ePTFE, characterized by a microporous node-and-fibril structure. In keeping with PTFE’s unusual nature, the more rapid the draw, the greater the percent porosity of the final ePTFE structure, a phenomenon in opposition to polymer science understanding prior to Bob Gore’s discovery.

The combination of ePTFE’s remarkable physical properties and a microporous structure has resulted in innovative products spanning a wide breadth of industries. ePTFE can be found in devices as varied as vascular grafts, heart valves, hernia patches, fuel cells, aerospace electronics, computer disc drives, lift cables, mercury capture devices, filters, gaskets, astronaut space suits, guitar strings, jackets, smart phones, and high temperature capacitors.

At the US Patent Office’s bicentennial celebration in 2002, Bob’s 3,953,566 patent was noted as being among the office’s most cited patents of all time, coming in at 7th place. The ‘566 patent has continued to age gracefully, and in 2019 with more than 10 million patents issued by the office, ‘566 stands at 176th on the office’s all time citation list.

We will conduct an overview of PTFE and what makes it uniquely expandable (or so we thought), hear the story of Bob’s tenacious persistence in discovery and new product development, learn how ePTFE is providing solutions to some of the most difficult problems individuals, industry, and society are facing, and discuss the current debate surrounding the use of fluorocarbon compounds. Finally, we will touch on how PTFE has served as a conceptual model, leading to the discovery that under the correct conditions other polymer materials can be expanded to form microporous structures.


Speaker: Mary Watson

Saturday, May 18th

1 pm - Reception

2 pm - Award presentation

3 pm - Presentation - Mary Watson


DuPont Country Club

1001 Rockland Rd, Wilmington, DE 19803

Cost: $10/person, free for awardees and their guest - RSVP online


Delaware ACS and UD Women in Chemistry Happy Hour & Networking Event

Thursday, May 2 5:30-7:30 PM

Iron Hill, 147 E Main Street, Newark, DE 19711

High School Chemistry Exam

The annual Delaware state competitive high school chemistry exam will be held on Friday, May 3, at 8 am at McKean High School in Wilmington.  The DE ACS will award cash prizes to the top scorers.  Teachers who are interested in sending students to the exam should email Mike Stemniski at mastem@udel.edu no later than April 25 so that enough materials can be prepared. 

ASMS Travel Award

The Delaware Valley Mass Spectrometry Discussion Group (DVMSDG) is sponsoring two travel awards for students who plan to present at the 67th American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS) Conference, June 2nd – 6th, 2019 in Atlanta, GA.   Applicants must be enrolled full-time in either a graduate or undergraduate program at a college/university in the greater Philadelphia/Delaware Valley region.

Interested applicants should submit the following information: 

  • Copy of their ASMS abstract
  • 1-2 page supplementary description of their research project
  • 1 page curriculum vitae

Applications should be submitted electronically in Word or PDF format by May 3rd , 2019 to: Steven.Mark.LaMonaca@dupont.com

Applications will be judged by DVMSDG Board, and the winners will be announced at our annual Vendors’ Night meeting on May 7th, 2019.

Further information about DVMSDG can be found at our website:  http://dvmsdg.org

Please contact me if you have any questions regarding this award or the application process.