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AEROCORK sustainable aircraft materials


July 7, 2010

The AEROCORK cork composite material (Photo: Paul Ridden)

The AEROCORK cork composite material (Photo: Paul Ridden)

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Many of the exhibitors we encountered at the Paris Green Air Show were showing off aircraft that ran on electricity, alternative fuels, or that reduced the consumption of fossil fuels. One booth, however, was displaying a different sort of green aviation product – a low-impact, natural cork composite called AEROCORK, intended to replace PVC foam and other petroleum-based building materials in aircraft. It is the result of a collaboration between three Portuguese tech companies.

Light aircraft manufacturer Dyn'Aero Ibérica started the ball rolling in 2008, when it was seeking a less-expensive and environmentally-friendlier alternative to some of the materials used in its planes. It formed a consortium with Amorim Cork Composites, polymer research center Polo de Inovação em Engenharia de Polímeros (PIEP), and Active Space Technologies. It then proceeded to get a research and development grant from the European Union, and in 2009 kicked off the three-year AEROCORK project.

The team is now working on outfitting one of Dyn'Aero’s MCR UL aircraft with a full compliment of cork composites in its structural, safety and aesthetic applications. They hope to take the plane on a demonstration flight late next year, to show the aviation world just how viable cork can be as an aerospace material.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

They could use a cork instead of the fuel tank filler cap. We\'ve all seen flying champagne corks! lol


IIRC, cork was used in aircraft for various purposes, in the early 20th century, before lighter and stronger plastics that were also more weather and temperature resistant were invented.

Same for use of cork in ships.

This aerocork is called a composite, what are the non-cork components of the material?

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