The cork oak

Cork is the renewable bark of the cork oak (Quercus Suber L). The species appeared more than 60 million years ago in the Western Mediterranean. Man learned thousands of years ago how to extract, work and use cork.

The bark of the cork oak is composed of micro cells, which are generally of polyhedral form. The inter-cellular spaces are filled with air. The special characteristics of cork and its multiple applications are due to this honeycomb structure and the nature of the cellular membranes.

Lightweight, resistant to wear, impermeable, elastic but of stable size, cork has a perfect capacity for heat insulation and vibration dampening. It has been used in the manufacture of many products, for thousands of years. It is highly ecological.

Harvesting cork. The barking of a cork oak can only be carried out every 9 years. The barking season lasts from July through to September.

Segments of bark, as large as possible, are detached with great care, ensuring that the phellogen base is not affected. This layer not only produces the usable material. It also ensures the regrowth of bark of the tree.

The first stripping of cork of young trees can only be carried out when it is at least 25 years old and the perimeter of the trunk reaches 70 cm. The cork obtained from the first stripping is called “male cork”. It is used for low-quality products such as floor tiles, pin-boards, etc.

At the time of the second removal (secundeira), cork is still not yet ready to be made into bottle stoppers. Ripe and perfect “female cork” for wine bottles will not be harvested for another 9 years. So the cork oak must mature for at least 43 years before it can produce cork for wine stoppers.

A bit of history.

The galleons of 16th century, venturing into unexplored seas, were known as “the cork galleons”, so large was the quantity of bonds, benches, trunks, bowls, mess tins, shoes and other objects carved from cork bark.

The use of cork to seal wine bottles began in the 17th century. The cork stopper then flourished with its incomparable capacity to preserve the quality of wine, especially sparkling wine.

Seacork’s raw material comes from the cuttings of wine stoppers. The cuttings are reduced to granules and mixed with a special resin. Blocks of cork, which can be cut into sheets of different thicknesses, are compressed at hight atmospheres.

Chemical composition.

It is another component of the cell walls which give texture to the cork.

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POLYSACCHARIDES

They determine the colour.

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TANINS

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SUBERINE

It is the principal component of the cork cell walls which provide elasticity.

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LIGNINE

It holds the different substances together.

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CEROIDES

They ensure impermeability.

Minerals, water, glycine, etc.

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DIVERS

WHAT DETERMINES THE QUALITY OF CORK?

Waterproof

Cork lets air pass through but not liquids. Think of wine bottles.

Elastic

but stable. It always bounces back to its initial state.

Durable

Cork’s softness is deceiving.

Very few natural substances are as durable

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Anti-slip

Cork’s anti-slip properties when wet are unsurpassed by any known material.

Light

Water = 1.00. Aluminium = 2.72. Teak = 0,63 to 0.72. Pine = 0.35 to 0.56. Seacork = 0.37!

Thermal et sound insulator

You get more insulations for a given thickness than any other material. (Cork is used to insulate space launchers.)

Does not rot

Cork is impervious to saltwater, bacteria, cleaning products sold in supermarkets and sunlight.

Resins

We use the most ecological resins available to bind the cork particles in all of our products.