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Where does cork come from?

Explore all the facts and curiosities about cork Why Cork

Facts

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Cork

Cork is a completely natural raw material, with unique properties which give it an unrivalled character

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Oak Tree

Mainly found in temperate and subtropical regions of the Northern Hemisphere, the oak tree has an average lifespan of over 200 years

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Oak Forest

With over 5.4 million acres of cork forest, about one third (approximately 1.8 million acres) is situated in Portugal

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Curiosities

Is cork good for your health?

Yes. Research carried out by University of Porto reveal that cork has antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic properties. The University of Bordeaux II also discovered that cork stoppers pass those health-giving properties to the wine. Furthermore, when it is applied to flooring and footwear, cork contributes to improve posture and reduce physical effort.

How long has cork been incorporated into aerospace projects?

The start of cork being integrated into aerospace projects is associated with the North American space program, with the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon, in the late 1960s. One of the most recent projects is the VEGA rocket, by the European Space Agency.

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How long has cork been incorporated into aerospace projects?

The start of cork being integrated into aerospace projects is associated with the North American space program, with the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon, in the late 1960s. One of the most recent projects is the VEGA rocket, by the European Space Agency.

Did you know that cork is used in special effects in cinema?

Thanks to its lightness, cork granules are used in special effects scenes to simulate explosions. This technique was used in films such as Total Recall, with the actor Colin Farrell, and Gangster Squad, with Sean Penn, Mission Impossible, with Tom Cruise, among others. In turn, expanded regranulated cork was used in Ghostbusters to simulate debris falling from buildings, in Volcano and in Dante's Peak to recreate volcanic rocks. As a general rule, in films when bullets are shown hitting something, the particles projected after impact are made of cork.

Why is the cork oak called Quercus suber L.?

The name Quercus suber L. stems from the fact that the cork oak belongs to the oak family - «Quercus (oak) suber», because it is a subspecies of the oak tree - and L. derives from Linnaeus, who was the first botanist to describe the species.

Why is cork one of the most important materials in spacecraft?

Due to the fact that it is an excellent thermal insulator. When a rocket or spacecraft is launched into space, its structure is subjected to temperatures exceeding one thousand degrees centigrade.

The same occurs on the return to Earth, as soon as the spacecraft enters the atmosphere. Just a coating of a cork compound between 1.6 cm and 2.5 cm thick, depending on the heat load it shall have to withstand (always above one thousand degrees centigrade) is needed to protect the spacecraft from the spread of flames. The cork is applied to critical components for the spacecraft's safety - usually the nose cone and other parts of the propulsion rockets coupled to the spacecraft.

Other applications of cork

As a result of technological advances and strong investment in R&D+I, the applications of cork are increasingly surprising, from its use in construction and architecture, in design, in the manufacture of clothing, jewelry and footwear, in furniture, decoration, health and cosmetics, in energy production, pollution control, among many other original applications.

Cork is the option of architects awarded the Pritzker Prize

Various architects have already chosen cork for their projects. Such is the case of Eduardo Souto Moura and Siza Vieira, Pritzker Prize winners, and the Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron team (Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2012).

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Cork is the option of architects awarded the Pritzker Prize

Various architects have already chosen cork for their projects. Such is the case of Eduardo Souto Moura and Siza Vieira, Pritzker Prize winners, and the Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron team (Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2012).

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