Cork is the outer bark of the cork oak tree, Quercus Suber L, a vegetable fabric formed by millions of micro-cells (one cubic centimetre/0,06 cubic inches can contain over 40 million cells) these cells are filled with a gaseous mixture identical to air.
There are five inter-cellular layers: two are cellulose, two are formed by suberin and wax and the fifth is woody providing the necessary structural rigidity. The presence of suberin makes the cork impermeable to liquids and gases, which together to its elasticity ensures great usefulness to satisfy many different kinds of industries.
This cell-like structure, like a honeycomb, gives cork great elasticity and, as incredible as it may seem, cork can be compressed to half its size without loosing any flexibility.
The cushion-like cells have a veritable elastic memory. When compressed, they instantly try to return to their original shape. This elasticity gives cork a high level of tolerance to climacteric changes. It’s light, chemical inertness, resists moisture and it's Biodegradable.
The properties of cork derive naturally from the structure and chemical composition of the extremely strong, flexible membranes that are waterproof and airtight.
Cork most distinguished and useful properties can be resumed as:
Low Density - due to the gaseous inside it’s cells, cork is extremely light;
Resiliency - as cork is elastic at a cellular level, it’s also very resistant;
Impermeability - the cellular membranes are waterproof protecting the cork from moisture;
Insulating and Fire Retardant properties - prevents the quick spreading of fire;
Low Conductivity - preventing electrical risks, especially in factories;
Highly Resisting to wear and tear - it allows its products to be wear-resistant;
Warm to sight and touch - natural cork has a soft, porous and dry touch.
In its several forms, cork always has appealing colour patterns;
Anti-Static preventing electrical risks, especially in factories.