Cork is a natural substance that is extracted from the cork oak tree. It is considered to be a sustainable and environmentally friendly product because the tree is not harmed during harvesting. It is a useful material because it has elastic properties, is virtually impermeable (fluid doesn’t pass through it), it floats and is fire resistant. Most cork is harvested from Portugal (53%) and Spain (30%).It is best known as a stopper for wine bottles, but it has many other uses as well.
Uses of Cork
- Cork makes a very good noise and thermal insulator. It is often used in the walls, floors and/or ceilings of houses for this purpose. The added benefit of using cork for this application is that it is non-toxic and fire resistant. It can also be used to make cheap house titles and even house bricks.
- Cork is used to make pin boards that are commonly found in offices and homes.
- Cork is a very important material for fishing. It can be used to create fishing floats and is often used for creating comfortable and lightweight fishing rod handles.
- Sometimes cork is added to concrete to improve the qualities of the product.
- The core of cricket balls and baseballs is made from cork.
- Cork is used in some shoes for comfort. Corks were strung on hats in Australia to deter insects, but this is no longer widely used.
- It is also used in spacecraft heat shields to protect the spacecraft on re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.