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DEET Dissolves Breathable Fabrics: Experimental Results

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  • Roleigh Martin
    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
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 1, 2009
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      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.



      Related posts:
      - Mountain Hardware Cohesion Pants It was Thanksgiving day and the
      weather was a...
      - Marmot Precip Full Zip Pants Marmot makes two styles of Precip pants:
      Full Zip...
      - My Long Trail Black Fly Defense Strategy Black flies are prevalent on
      the Long Trail in Vermont...
      - Treating your Clothes with Permethrin Permethrin is a contact
      pesticide that kills black flies,...
      - Wicking Underwear Last year, I switched to wearing long pants for...

      Things you can do from here:
      - Subscribe to sectionhiker.com using Google Reader
      - Get started using Google Reader to easily keep up with all your
      favorite sites


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Carol
      Yep, a couple of years ago my bottle of insect repellant, containing 30% DEET, spilled on my Goretex Shell and it melted. ... standard ... test by ...
      Message 2 of 2 , Mar 2, 2009
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        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.
        >
        >
        >
        > Related posts:
        > - Mountain Hardware Cohesion Pants It was Thanksgiving day and the
        > weather was a...
        > - Marmot Precip Full Zip Pants Marmot makes two styles of Precip
        pants:
        > Full Zip...
        > - My Long Trail Black Fly Defense Strategy Black flies are
        prevalent on
        > the Long Trail in Vermont...
        > - Treating your Clothes with Permethrin Permethrin is a contact
        > pesticide that kills black flies,...
        > - Wicking Underwear Last year, I switched to wearing long pants
        for...
        >
        > Things you can do from here:
        > - Subscribe to sectionhiker.com using Google Reader
        > - Get started using Google Reader to easily keep up with all your
        > favorite sites
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
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