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A cork oak cycle lasts 9 years, the next extraction can therefore only be proceded nine years after the first stripping. The extracted cork will only be high-quality and able to be worked and transformed by the time the tree is about 45 years old. From that moment, it will be called reproduction cork, and the extraction process lifting. A cork oak lives for about 200 years ; it is therefore possible to extract cork from the same tree about 15 times during the tree’s lifetime.

The uses of cork

 Cork is a flexible, low-density, non-flammable and water resistant material. It can sometimes be used to make insulating panels, in granular form. However, it is mainly used to make corks : 80% of the annual production is used for wine bottles.

It is also used, in less important proportion, for shoe soles and some music instruments such as clarinet and saxophone. It even replaces the PVC used for aircraft fuselage since it possesses some of the latter’s proprieties.

A good read about this (only in French) :

Le liège, le matériau du futur ? (Cork, the material of the future ?)