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The name Quercus suber L. stems from the fact that the cork oak belongs to the oak family - «Quercus (oak) suber», because it is a subspecies of the oak tree - and L. derives from Linnaeus, who was the first botanist to describe the species.

In 2008 the Albanian artist Saimir Strati entered the famous Guinness Book of Records for making the largest cork stopper mosaic in the world. The work depicts Romeo playing the guitar and is 7.1 m tall and 12.9 m wide. 229 675 cork stoppers in different shapes and colours and glued together were used. The mosaic was shown at the Sheraton Tirana Hotel, in Albania's capital.

Prior to that, in 2006, the Frenchman Gerald Malou had entered the Guinness Book of Records with the largest cork sculpture. The work, 2.35 m in height, was shown in Gaillac, a city in southwest France, renowned for its wine.

The largest collection of cork stoppers in the world can be found in Spain. It belongs to Antonio Fontela Blanco and Rosa Maria Valdes Diaz, who began collecting corks in 1995. They entered the Guinness Book of Records in 2002 with 744 different cork stoppers, from 284 brands of cider from the Asturias. The oldest cork stopper was 60 years old at the time.

The production of cork coverings releases low rates of CO2 - contrary, for example, to the production of wood coverings, which release 2.5 to 4 times more CO2 than a cork flooring. Furthermore, cork coverings are produced from a raw material whose production does not require the trees to be felled.

The Portuguese Post Office (CTT) and the Portuguese Parliament issued the world's first cork postage stamp in 2007, in a single print run of 230 000 stamps. Designed by the engraver João Machado, the stamp pays tribute to the national cork industry, a sector that has placed Portugal as the global leader.

Thanks to its lightness, cork granules are used in special effects scenes to simulate explosions. This technique was used in films such as Total Recall, with the actor Colin Farrell, and Gangster Squad, with Sean Penn, Mission Impossible, with Tom Cruise, among others. In turn, expanded regranulated cork was used in Ghostbusters to simulate debris falling from buildings, in Volcano and in Dante's Peak to recreate volcanic rocks. As a general rule, in films when bullets are shown hitting something, the particles projected after impact are made of cork.

Yes. Research carried out by University of Porto reveal that cork has antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic properties. The University of Bordeaux II also discovered that cork stoppers pass those health-giving properties to the wine. Furthermore, when it is applied to flooring and footwear, cork contributes to improve posture and reduce physical effort.

A report published in 1928 in the book entitled Cork Insulation, by Pearl Edwin Thomas, revealed that expanded cork agglomerate withstood an immersion test in boiling water for three hours without suffering significant changes. The Navy Test, conducted by the USA Navy Department, had the aim of concentrating into a short period of time the destructive forces that a refrigeration room is subject to during its operation. Immersed and boiled for three hours at atmospheric pressure, the insulation materials being studied would have to avoid disintegration and could not expand more than 2%. The «pure cork board» (the name that distinguished it from the cork materials where filler products were applied) passed the test with flying colours. It thus proved to be an option with the clear capacity to withstand deterioration caused by humidity in cold storage environments.

Due to the fact that it is an excellent thermal insulator. When a rocket or spacecraft is launched into space, its structure is subjected to temperatures exceeding one thousand degrees centigrade. The same occurs on the return to Earth, as soon as the spacecraft enters the atmosphere. Just a coating of a cork compound between 1.6 cm and 2.5 cm thick, depending on the heat load it shall have to withstand (always above one thousand degrees centigrade) is needed to protect the spacecraft from the spread of flames. The cork is applied to critical components for the spacecraft's safety - usually the nose cone and other parts of the propulsion rockets coupled to the spacecraft.

The start of cork being integrated into aerospace projects is associated with the North American space programme, with the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon, in the late 1960s. To this day, Corticeira Amorim continues to produce compounds for the aerospace industry. One of the most recent projects is the VEGA rocket, by the European Space Agency.

As a result of technological advances and strong investment in R&D+I, the applications of cork are increasingly surprising, from its use in construction and architecture, in design, in the manufacture of clothing, jewellery and footwear, in furniture, decoration, health and cosmetics, in energy production, pollution control, among many other original applications, and those still undiscovered.

The Alentejo region, the largest cork forest area in Portugal, shall propose UNESCO to classify the cork oak forest as a World Heritage Site. The reasons underpinning the application are those related to tourist interest, to the fact that the montado is a unique ecosystem in the world and that it may be advertised as a destination with an identity.

Cork is the option of some of the most renowned contemporary architects in the world. E.g. from among those awarded with the Pritzker Prize, considered the Nobel Prize of Architecture, various architects have already chosen cork for their projects. Such is the case of Eduardo Souto Moura and Siza Vieira (for example in the joint project for the Portuguese Pavilion at Expo Hanover 2000) and the Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron team (Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2012).

When in contact with wine, the cork stopper forms antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic compounds that may reduce the risk of heart and degenerative diseases. Furthermore, waste from the cork industry gives rise to composites which are used in vaccine adjuvants to enhance immune system response.