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Airplanes Made From Cork May Soon Take to the Skies

Posted By Ariel Schwartz On February 4, 2010 @ 9:20 am In Green Materials,Green Transportation | 4 Comments

cork, harvested cork, aerocork, wine, portugal, portuguese, green design, eco design, sustainable design, renewable materials

Cork is a useful material for making a number of things — wine bottles, furniture [1], and cork boards, to name a few–but airplane parts? A group of Portuguese cork producers recently launched the Aerocork [2] project, which is investigating the feasibility of replacing plastic PVC [3] with cork in the fuselage, wings, and flaps of light aircraft. The cork-based parts could be coated in carbon fiber sheets to create a lightweight, fire-retardant material.

cork, harvested cork, aerocork, wine, portugal, portuguese, green design, eco design, sustainable design, renewable materials

So why the sudden interest in cork for planes? Portugal produces over half the world’s cork [4] supply — 157,000 tons each year — and demand is going down as the wine industry increasingly uses cheap plastic stoppers and metal screwtops. If Portugal stops harvesting its massive cork forests, desertification could result.

We’ll find out if cork is a viable aircraft [5] material soon enough — Aerocork plans have a prototype airplane plane ready later this year.

+ Aerocork [2]

Via Treehugger [6]


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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/airplanes-made-from-cork-may-soon-take-to-the-skies/

URLs in this post:

[1] furniture: http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/06/03/renewable-cork-eco-furniture-and-accessories-by-corque/

[2] Aerocork: http://www.aerocork.com/

[3] plastic PVC: http://www.inhabitat.com/2007/03/26/pvc-no-good/

[4] cork: http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/05/21/making-good-use-of-cork-iannone-design-2009-furniture/

[5] aircraft: http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/04/13/costa-rican-hotel-suite-takes-flight/

[6] Treehugger: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/02/dynaero-portugal-cork-aircraft-plane-parts.php

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