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Material Study: Cork Design research and proposal for a senior capstone project by Meng-Ting Lee

A final deliverable for IDES 431 Design Theory + Capstone Fall 2012 coordinated by Jason Lempieri and Jonas Milder

Industrial Design Program School for Design College of Art, Media, and Design Š 2012 University of the Arts 320 South Broad Street Philadelphia PA 19102

Cork Cork comes from the bark of the cork oak, a type of oak lives People harvested the cork oak in Mediterranean Basin area and has average two hundred for cork instead cutting the tree years lifespan. down. Cork oak will grow the bark back again after nine years and people will harvest again by the time is ready.

All the barks will send to cork factories and go through the manufacturing process.

A machine that punches round metal tube through barks.

The cylinder part will be used for wine stopper. The byproducts will cut into tiny granules and to be made into other cork products.

Recycle Cork products can also be recycled after people not longer them. Some companies such as Amorim, the world leader in cork product in Portugal, does cork wine stopper recycle. They are taking the recycle cork wine stoppers back to factory, cut it into granules and re-form into either another wine stopper or cork sheet or cork board.

In United States, Cork Forest Conservation Alliance also recycle cork wine stopper. They place recycle buckets in every Whole Food Market and they granulate the recycle cork and make new cork product.

Material Research Cork has been used for wine stopper for many centuries, but not many products use cork. Until the recent decades, people started to care about our bodies and environment. People started to use the material which is less harmful to human body and environment. Therefore, Cork has become one of the popular material.

Harmful to HUMAN BODY Toxic

PVC Heavy Metal


Plastic Wood Metal Glass

Physical (Cut) Metal Glass




Non-biodegradable Steel- 100 years Aluminum- 350 years Plastic- 400-450 years Glass- Never Polystyrene foam- Never Tires- Never Greenhouse effect Wood/ Paper Gasoline Air pollution

Burning Plastic (toxic) Metal (fraction) Wood/ paper (fraction) Planting Lack of trees will cost Desertification

Cork properties Wood Metal Glass Plastic

Low density

Low thermal conductivity

Water resistant


Chemically inert

Properties and Products Chemically inert Low density

Low thermal conductivity

Cork Properties Renewable Compressed Water resistant

Other than cork wine stopper, there are many products and parts of product are made by cork such as shuttlecocks, fishing floats, fishing rod handle, conducting baton handles, shoes, spacecraft heat shields and paper pick-up mechanisms in inkjet and laser printer. Also, some designers see cork has good compress ability and use it to make furniture.

New Cork Material Some manufacturer combine cork with other material to create a new material. The new material usually much durable and stiffer than cork , but also contain cork’s low thermal conductivity, compress ability and/or low density property.

Thin Sheet Innvironments Cork Wallcoverings

Cork Wallpaper

AR Sauvignon

Innvironments In Wallcoverings, Inc. New York, USA

Intext USA New York, USA

F.J.HAKIMIAN, Inc. New York, USA

Naturtex A-1462 E-1836/L


Naturtex s.l Spain

Villani Leonello Italy

55R10 Col. 2





Resistance Fire Wear Water Chemical UV Scratch Tear Stain Thermal Conductivity

High Medium Low N/A


Cork Artistico


Expanko Cork Pennsylvania, USA Suberra

Natural Cork Parquet Tile

Eco Supply Center Natural Cork Inc. Virginia, USA Georgia, USA



Rigato Collection Cork

Capri Cork Pennsylvania, USA

Globus Cork New York, USA

Polyvan 31


To Market Rudolf Rost Sperrholz GmbH Freund GmbH Oklahoma, USA Germany Germany


APINT CK series (with cork)

Acousticork NRT Xtreme WRT

Eco Technilin SAS France

A.P.I Applicazioni Plastiche Industriali SpA Italy

Amorim Revestimentos S.A Portugal

Floating Floor

Resistance Fire Wear Water Chemical UV Scratch Tear Stain Thermal Conductivity

High Medium Low N/A

Cork-Metal Cork and metal are two very different materials. Unlike plastic has many similar properties with cork, metal and cork have only one same property witch is water resistant. Combining cork and metal is going to have metal’s stiffness property and also contain cork’s compress ability and low thermal conductivity properties. Also, it will also prevent electric shock if metal is sandwiched by cork.


LOW density


LOW thermal conductivity

Water resistant


HIGH density


HIGH thermal conductivity

Water resistant

Cork - Metal - Cork

Cork - Metal

Metal - Cork - Metal

Laminate material in the world Polyvan 31



Eulithe Aluminum


Rudolf Rost Sperrholz GmbH Germany

Firestone Metal Products, LLC. USA

Lamellux速 France

EULITHE srl Italy

Alpi Divisione Legno SpA Italy

Project Timeline

Week 1

Find companies than can possibly produce this new material

Week 2


Week 3

If no company makes it, make it by myself

Week 4 Week 5

Test the new material

Week 6

Find out what product can be made/ Test

Find out what product can be made/ Test

Week 7

Find out what product can be made/ Test

Week 8

Make prototypes

Week 9

Make prototypes

Week 10

Make prototypes

Week 11

Make prototypes

Week 12

Make prototypes

To Do List: - Visit Daniel Michalik Furniture Design studio - Visit Metal factories - Revisit Material Connexion if need

Bibliography Amorim- Cork America Cork Forest Conservation Alliance ReCork Coral Reef Alliance The Engineering ToolBox Material Connexion Designboom

Daniel Michalik Furniture Design Alucobond Alucore ALPI

Material Study: Cork  

UArts senior capstone project