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3787Re: DEET Dissolves Breathable Fabrics: Experimental Results

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  • Carol
    Mar 2, 2009
    • 0 Attachment
      Yep, a couple of years ago my bottle of insect repellant, containing
      30% DEET, spilled on my Goretex Shell and it melted.


      --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, Roleigh Martin <marti124@...>
      wrote:
      >
      > very interesting; this is a new RSS feed I subscribed too starting
      > today via google reader.
      >
      > Sent to you by Roleigh Martin via Google Reader: DEET Dissolves
      > Breathable Fabrics: Experimental Results via sectionhiker.com by
      > Earlylite on 2/20/09
      > I’m a skeptic by nature and have always questioned authority,
      standard
      > operating procedures, gut feel, the status quo, and institutional
      > knowledge. In work and at play, I often put these truths to the
      test by
      > doing experiments or establishing quantifiable metrics that
      invariably
      > show that long held beliefs are grossly incorrect.
      >
      >
      > I’d always heard that DEET dissolves breathable fabrics, such as
      > Gore-Tex, and that you should keep the two from coming into contact
      > with one other. I’ve never had this problem outdoors when I’ve
      used
      > DEET, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to test whether it
      is true
      > or a myth in a more controlled setting on a pair of breathable rain
      > pants.
      >
      > This winter, I managed to shred a pair of Mountain Hardware Cohesion
      > Pants, slashing dozens of rips in the legs with sharp front points,
      > while learning to use crampons. Mountain Hardware Cohesion Pants are
      > made with Conduit DT, a proprietary Gore-Tex knockoff that has three
      > layers: an outer shell layer made from Epic nylon, a middle
      breathable
      > layer made from Conduit DT, and an inner Epic stretch liner. I
      tried to
      > extend the life of these pants with duct tape (see above), but
      finally
      > donated their remains to science, enabling this experiment.
      >
      > The Experiment
      >
      > I applied three squirts of Ben’s 100% DEET and Ben’s 30% DEET
      to the
      > Epic nylon fabric on the outside of the Cohesion pants. After 3
      days,
      > the 100% DEET solution (right in photo) was still quite wet, while
      the
      > 30% DEET Solution (left in photo) had mostly dried. There was little
      > evidence of any external damage to the pants leg.
      >
      >
      > Turning the pant leg inside out however, showed another result
      > entirely. The 30% DEET solution had soaked through the outer shell
      > layer and melted the middle Conduit DT layer and the inner liner.
      > However, the damage was highly localized. [Does the photo below
      remind
      > you of the Andromeda Strain?]
      >
      >
      > The damage under the 100% DEET application was much more
      significant,
      > and large patches of the Conduit DT layer and the inner liner were
      > melted away. As it turns out, this process is ongoing and the fabric
      > continues to dissolve, unabated.
      >
      >
      > Conclusions
      >
      > The experimental evidence is quite clear and shows that DEET does
      > dissolve breathable laminates. It’s true! However, the strength
      of the
      > DEET solution that the laminate comes in contact with is a
      determining
      > factor in the amount of damage that will occur. Therefore, hikers
      who
      > are concerned about the impact of DEET to clothing made using
      > breathable laminates are advised to dilute the point of contact with
      > water to minimize potential damage.
      >
      >
      >
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