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De Soto uses limestone for its T1 Wetsuits

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January 6, 2012

The De Soto T1 Wetsuit in action

The De Soto T1 Wetsuit in action

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Over the past few years an unlikely material has found its way into wetsuits: limestone. One would think that using rock to create rubber might cause a wearer to sink, but the porous yet closely-packed cells found in a limestone-based rubber is said to make the wearer more buoyant.

De Soto Sports, a San Diego-based company that makes clothing and gear for triathlons, developed its own brand of limestone-based rubber, GreenGoma, to use in its wetsuits. Starting with the 2012 line, which first hit stores this past fall, all of the company's T1 wetsuits are made with GreenGoma, which eliminates the use of petroleum products in the line.

While many triathlon competitors will be interested in a petroleum-free wetsuit, GreenGoma reportedly provides a number of other benefits to the wearer - the material is claimed to provide suits with increased stretch, buoyancy, durability and insulation.

Increased buoyancy is due to a closed-cell injected construction, which makes it 98.9 percent water impermeable. De Soto Sports founder Emilio De Soto compares the suit to cork. "If you have a really dry sponge, it almost feels like a crispy piece of bark. If you put that sponge in water it will float until it reaches the saturation point and begins to sink," he tells Gizmag. "The cells in cork are so closed to water it doesn't permeate. Like cork, that baby's still going to float."

T1 Wetsuits are not the first to market with limestone-based rubber. Companies including Matuse and Patagonia use the stone to produce wetsuits, however those are designed for surfing. De Soto's T1 Wetsuits are made specifically for swimming in triathlons. Wetsuits used for triathlons and swimming allow the wearer to stretch and go through the motions of swimming strokes with ease. The suits also tend to offer a certain amount of buoyancy.

The limestone-based rubber has existed for a few years, but in order for De Soto to use the material, it had to adapt the limestone material for its needs, which are stretch, buoyancy, durability and insulation. De Soto worked with suppliers to develop what it's branded as GreenGoma.

Does this mean the use of limestone-based rubber is a green option? De Soto believes it is a better option than petroleum-based materials, yet he realizes there is a finite amount of limestone, and hopes another option will come along.

"We've stepped away from petroleum. We're using limestone," says De Soto. "Years ago it was not possible to make rubber from limestone. Maybe in a few years something else will come out with the same effect."

It's still early for feedback, but some initial results from independent testers indicate that the current T1 Wetsuits are about three seconds per 100 meters faster than suits sold a few years ago. The credit is shared with GreenGoma and other elements of the suit. "Part of it is the material, another part of it is the fact we've extended our research to get the human body to propel itself more efficiently in water," says De Soto.

One-piece and two-piece T1 Wetsuits sell for about US$200 to $320 at De Soto Sport.

About the Author
Enid Burns Enid began her freelance writing career reviewing video games after spending several hundred dollars upgrading a DOS-based machine to get Syndicate to run. Since then she's added coverage of mobile phones, consumer electronics and online advertising to her writing portfolio. Essentially, she's fascinated by shiny objects and making them light up.   All articles by Enid Burns
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2 Comments

This article is advertising a 'New' feedstock for plastic materials....

The article initially tries to make the fact that the benefits of the rubber come from Limestone, when they come from the injection technique and closed cell foaming of the medium....

When bombarded with environmental twaddle, remember; Concrete production (large user of Limestone, a Non-Renewable resource, like Oil and Coal) produces between 5 and 15% (hard to get a consensus) of all of the greenhouse gas emissions in the world... Most of this emission is from gassing off of the Limestone as it is heated and degraded etc.... Not from the Use of Fossil fuels in the process...

Saying that they have ELIMINATED fossil fuels from the production chain is misleading, because where are they getting their energy from.... transport fuel, mining, explosives, production electricity... Mostly fossil fuels, (and maybe a small percentage Nuclear or Renewables (All heavy users of Fossil fuels in their development and fuel processing industries)..

Ok so they are using Limestone for their Polymer feedstock.. Now there is NO stone in the wetsuit material, it is a foamed polymer, made by polymerising the calcium carbonate constutuents.....

http://endurancesportswire.com/t1-wetsuits-made-of-greengoma%E2%84%A2-a-limestone-rubber/

Is a more balanced article, which states, this wetsuit is a better performing product, but it is NOT environmentally friendly / green....

So don't try to make out that it is any better then one using Oil, Just because it uses limestone, which everyone must think is a nice green idea....

MD
6th January, 2012 @ 09:45 pm PST

Almost leads one onto using things such as 3M glass bubbles in a polymer suit

http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/Oil-Gas/Home/Prod_Info/Prod_Catalog/?nid=3G1JD1XSQ9beMV4WNM35VFgl

Could be a cool new product line

Martin Yale
9th January, 2012 @ 08:26 am PST
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