3mm GORE™ Protective Vent Maximizes Airflow in Portable Devices


As electronic devices continue to decrease in size, they are also becoming more complex, which means that more heat-generating electronics are being packaged in smaller housings. Therefore, the vents in these housings need to be smaller without sacrificing airflow. In response to this industry trend, W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc., has added a 3mm high-airflow vent to their line of GORE™ Protective Vents. As the smallest GORE™ Protective Vent in Gore’s line of insert-molded vents, the D3 vent relieves pressure that builds inside the housing. As devices cycle on and off, the electronics and batteries generate potentially harmful heat, which causes the internal pressure to increase and put stress on the housing seals. In addition, sudden weather and environmental changes can cause the internal pressure of an electronic device to drop, resulting in a vacuum of more than 200 millibars (3 psi). According to Cindy Marra, W. L. Gore & Associates applications engineer, “By equalizing the pressure inside small electronic devices, the D3 GORE™ Protective Vent prevents premature failure of the housing seals by virtually eliminating the vacuum or managing pressure fluctuations caused by pressure buildup. Although the D3 is small, it provides constant airflow and quick venting recovery after being submerged in water, so it can be washed without compromising its effectiveness.” After designing this new high-airflow vent, Gore application engineers ran the D3 GORE™ Protective Vent through its proprietary modeling program with interesting results. Using typical specifications for a handheld device, such as a GPS unit, digital camera, or MP3 player, Gore investigated the pressure differential if the device is carried between an outdoor temperature of -5°F and an indoor temperature of 75°F. According to Jason Zambotti, applications engineer from Gore, “Without the D3 GORE™ Protective Vent, the model showed a pressure differential in excess of 2.5 psi; however, when we adjusted the specifications to include the D3, the pressure differential dropped to only 0.5 psi. This is the difference between on-going damage to the protective seals of the device housing and a highly tolerable internal pressure.” GORE™ Protective Vents provide continuous airflow in sealed housings without allowing contaminants to enter because of the proprietary expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) membrane in the vent. This unique ePTFE membrane has a low surface tension, so it repels liquids, such as water, oil, and surfactants, as well as preventing dust, dirt, and other environmental contaminants from entering the housing. Marra continues, “With the D3 Protective Vent, we are now able to provide a full line of high-airflow vents, ranging from 3mm to 17mm in our standard product line, and we can also produce customized vents for unique applications. An added advantage of press-fit GORE™ Protective Vents is that they maintain a low profile that can complement the aesthetic design of the device.”
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