Material Matter: The Functionality of Cork

By Brittany DiBenedetto | Material Matter
Posted Feb 28, 2017

Cork is a natural material that gets most of its usage in wine bottles. A European company has found a way to integrate this material’s functional properties into their high quality fabrics.

Schoeller is a textile and technology company, based in Switzerland, known for their high quality products and innovative spirit. Working primarily in the performance sector, Schoeller looks to nature as their role model for inspiration to create new innovations. In 2011 they began their search for a new lightweight material with perfect climate properties including impermeability, and elasticity. In their pursuit, they discovered the fascinating microstructures the natural material cork holds and developed their technology: corkshell™.

corkshell™ is made of FSC-certified cork granulate as a by-product from the manufacturing of wine corks. This material is refined and fixed as a coating onto a wide range of fabrics through a special patented process by Schoeller. There are two options of application for this technology: the first is a two-layer fabric with the cork coating on the inside layer and the other is a three-layer fabric with the cork coating placed in the middle. All corkshell™ fabric constructions offer a range of characteristics including durability, softness, water and wind repellence, as well as breathability. The most recognized characteristic is the amount of thermal insulation the cork coating generates as compared to traditional soft-shell fabric. corkshell™ can offer up to 50% more insulation, levels never seen before, due to its’ bubble-form structure.

This technology is able to use cork’s positive natural properties without sacrificing other functional features. The supply chain is all of European origin, the fabrics are produced in Schoeller’s Switzerland plant while the yarns and raw materials are all sourced throughout Europe. While cork is a thick and rugged material, harvesting it does not harm the trees it comes from. Cork oak trees can live up to 200 years with the ability to be harvested approximately sixteen times, making it a renewable resource.

We believe sustainability by no means conflicts with innovation, design, functionality, and quality. – Vedran Gartmann of Product Development at Schoeller

Schoeller stands as a pioneer of innovation, always looking for products to improve the comfort of their consumers in a sustainable way. As a supplier of solution oriented products, Schoeller products enhance the quality of life. Their corkshell™ technology can be used in a variety of applications, from riding pants to ski gear, backpacks to leisure clothing. The Lost Explorer has created a collection of corkshell™ products that can be found for retail on their website.

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