Cork is obtained from the cork oak (Quercus Suber L) – a forest tree with the particular feature of allowing itself to be stripped of the outer casing which it then regenerates. The bark is stripped first when the tree is 20 to 30 years old, subsequent strippings take place every 9 to 10 years.
The bark has a cellular structure consisting of myriads of tiny, 14-sided cells, each imprisoning a microscopic volume of air. In a piece of natural cork of only one cubic inch in size, there are approximately 200 million of these minute cells, each seperated by an impermeable and remarkably strong, resinous membrane. Slightly more than 50 per cent of the volume of a piece of cork is captive air within the cells.
This cellular structure makes cork light in weight, buoyant, resistant to the penetration of moisture, compressible, resilient, resistant to the effects of friction and an ideal thermal and sound insulation material.
In addition, cork is much more chemically inert than most materials, and is therefore capable of withstanding deterioration through age. It also has a strong resistance to the effects of varying temperature and humidity levels.
Cork does not support its own combustion and chars only slowly when subjected to a flame. Unlike some synthetic insulation materials, in burning it does not produce chlorides, cyanides or other toxic gases.
For technical information about insulation values, available thicknesses, applications etc. please feel free to browse this website or alternatively download our Corkboard Insulation Brochure (PDF)