A few words about our product - natural cork.
Growing in Portugal and Mediterranean countries such as: Spain, France, Italy or Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, the species of oak Qurqus Suber L, called cork oak, provides us with an extremely valuable and unique raw material - cork bark. There is no other natural material that would simultaneously combine so many valuable properties, which means that this material has been used by man for decades for many different applications - from bottle corks, through various types of decorative and insulating materials commonly used in construction or industry, to materials used in astronautics. Over the years and with the development of modern technologies, the scope of its use continues to expand.
However, before this precious raw material in its various material forms finds its way into industry, our homes, offices or simply into bottles of good wine, cork oak must grow quietly for about 25 years. Only after such a period of time does the exploitation of cork trees begin, which involves stripping patches of bark from their trunks and branches. The first of these, called virgin, is very irregular and relatively hard, so it is mainly used to make veneers or decorative products. Each subsequent stripped layer of bark is more regular and softer, and is primarily used to make natural stoppers - cork stoppers for bottles. In order for a bottle stopper to be cut from a properly cut piece of bark, the bark sheets pulled from the tree undergo appropriate processing, i.e. aging, boiling, straightening, drying and selection into different grades of material depending on their thickness and quality.
The waste material generated in the process of manufacturing bottle corks, as well as all the remaining raw material that does not meet the appropriate quality requirements for their production, provides a material base for the production of all types of agglomerated cork materials, such as sheets, rolls, cork paneling, cork flooring, etc.
The process of barking cork oaks in Portugal, which is the largest producer of cork raw material (it produces about 50% of the world's stock), takes place every 9 years. During this period, the tree is able to fully add its protective layer, which is the bark, against the influence of the hot southern climate. The barking process to this day is carried out manually, by experienced workers, using traditional tools - special axes.
Bark growth varies from year to year, depending on the weather conditions prevailing in a given year, i.e. temperature and the amount of rainfall.
Thus, the method of exploiting cork oaks makes it possible to obtain a valuable raw material and protect the environment at the same time.
Cork owes its specific properties to its unique internal structure. Having the form of tetrahedral cork cells (in 1 cm³ there are about 40 million of them) with flexible walls, they are filled with a gas with properties similar to air and are connected to each other by capillaries. By means of these thin tubules, this gas can be removed from individual cells, e.g. as a result of a compressive force, as well as "sucked" back into the elastic cells when the acting force is subtracted. This feature makes each cork cell a miniature thermal, acoustic and vibration insulator.
The main components of natural cork are suberin about 45%, lignin 27%, polysaccharides 12%, wax 6% and tannins about 6%.
Properties that make natural cork unique are:
- excellent thermal and acoustic insulation and vibration isolation parameters
- low specific gravity/lightness
- low water absorption
- high mechanical resistance and compressibility
- resistance to the effects of many substances and chemical compounds
- resistance to fungi and mold
- low flammability and lack of emission of toxic compounds during burning
- antistaticity and anti-allergenicity
- easy to process
- high coefficient of friction
- good insulation from the influence of harmful radiation of emission water veins and other materials
- durability and naturalness