The Rationale behind Cork Properties: A Review of Structure and Chemistry

Helena Pereira

Abstract


Cork is a natural cellular material of biological origin with a combination of properties that make it suited for worldwide use as a wine sealant and insulation material. Cork has low density, is buoyant, is not very permeable to fluids, has a low thermal coefficient, exhibits elasticity and deformation without fracturing under compression, and has considerable durability. Such characteristics result from the features of its cellular structure, primarily its cell dimensions and topology, and from the chemical composition of the cell wall. The characteristics of the two main chemical components (suberin and lignin, which represent 53% and 26%, respectively, of the cell wall) have been analyzed. The limits of natural variation and their impacts on cork properties are discussed and used to define the material as “cork”.

Keywords


Cork; Quercus suber; Suberin; Lignin; Cellular structure; Compression; Properties

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Welcome to BioResources! This online, peer-reviewed journal is devoted to the science and engineering of biomaterials and chemicals from lignocellulosic sources for new end uses and new capabilities. The editors of BioResources would be very happy to assist you during the process of submitting or reviewing articles. Please note that logging in is required in order to submit or review articles. Martin A. Hubbe, (919) 513-3022, hubbe@ncsu.edu; Lucian A. Lucia, (919) 515-7707, lucian.lucia@gmail.com URLs: bioresourcesjournal.com; http://ncsu.edu/bioresources ISSN: 1930-2126