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About Cork

What Is Cork?

Cork is a material obtained from the bark of a tree, the Cork Oak (Quercus suber L.), or more exactly from the outside layer of the trunk of the trees, from which is periodically removed without harming the tree, usually every 9–12 years (depending on the culture region), to assure the cork layer reached the minimum required thickness. The cork oak must be about 20–25 years old before its bark, called “virgin cork,” is removed for the first time; a second extraction of the cork is called “secundeira” (The many uses of cork). Only cork obtained from the third stripping, called “amadia” is suitable for manufacturing stoppers (Cortiça); however, the first “amadia” cork is still very porous and irregular. In the same tree, the quality improves over time.
Naturally growing in northwest Africa and southwest Europe, cork is a heavy-duty, waterproof, fire retardant, flexible, and environmentally friendly material. It has very good insulating properties as well. Cork consists of suberin cells in the shape of tiny pentagonal or hexagonal honeycombs, a complex fatty acid filled with an air-like gas, which makes up 90% of its volume. It possesses an average density of around 200 kg/m3 and low thermal conductivity.

Why Cork?

Cellular solids are materials possessing cellular microstructures, which are seen in natural materials such as wood, cork, sponge, cancellous bone, and coral. This kind of material usually exhibits excellent energy absorption characteristics under compression. In comparison to the mentioned materials, Cork stands out with its cell structure which is similar to a honeycomb, giving cork great elasticity. It can incredibly be compressed to half its size without losing its flexibility. Inheriting such excellent qualities Cork acts as an ideal component that absorbs thermal, electrical and sound waves and radiations and retains its natural properties due to its cushion-like elastic memory.
Taking advantage of cork's unique property, it is not only used as a wine bottle sealer but is also used in various industries unknown to many. They are industrially available in many different forms: Natural, Granulated, agglomerated in blocks, sheets or rolls and can be combined with other materials to make unique formulations.
The Cork granules are mixed with different kinds of rubber to create an industrial-grade cork that has heat resistance and wear resistance properties. These advanced industrial corks are used in a wide range of industries, right from Automotive to construction. Providing solutions for any and every thermal, acoustic and vibration insulation.
Moreover, cork doesn’t emit any harmful gas or chemicals!

Facts About Cork

Cork trees live on average 200 years, but there are cork trees that are 500 years old. They grow up to 75 feet tall.
The bark is stripped manually by expert harvesters in the months of May to August.
Cork planks are stored outside for a minimum of 6 months to dry up before they start being processed.
Cork is actually made of water-resistant cells that separate the outer bark from the delicate interior bark. It has a unique set of properties not found in any other naturally existing material. It is lightweight, rot-resistant, fire-resistant, termite resistant, impermeable to gas and liquid, soft and buoyant.
Cork Oak forests contain one of the world’s highest levels of forest biodiversity including endemic plants and endangered species such as the Iberian Lynx, the Iberian Imperial Eagle, and the Barbary Deer.
The cork forests are one of the most sustainable and environmentally harvested forests in the world.