Suberra Cell Structure & Suberin
It’s tempting to view cork as wood – to associate Suberra with the well-known traits of trees. After all, cork does come from the bark of the Cork Oak tree.
But cork is no ordinary bark. And, as a result, Suberra is no ordinary material
Cork is composed of cellulose, lignin and – most of all – a waxy, waterproof substance called suberin. Whereas wood gets its defining properties (including its propensity to burn) from a high cellulose content, cork inherits many of its unique characteristics from suberin.
Technically speaking, suberin is a polyester polymer found within the cell wall of terrestrial plants. It protects the plant from environmental stressors while also carrying water and nutrients.
But what does that mean to you?
It means that Suberra can give you many of the benefits that suberin gives cork. Suberra slabs are resilient as well as highly resistant to water, heat and microbial growth.
Second in importance only to suberin, a substance called lignin provides cork with much of its mechanical support and rigidity.
Lignin makes up 20 to 25 percent of the total material in cork. A hard polymer with strong covalent bonds, lignin takes credit for stiffening the cell walls and resisting compression, according to the book "Cork: biology, production and uses" by Helena Pereira. She goes on to say that lignin is "mostly hydrophobic and its water absorption is low."
We’ve mentioned cork’s cells a few times, for good reason. The raw cork that goes into Suberra contains up to 200 million cells per cubic inch. These cells are filled with a gas similar to air, which helps insulate the material and gives Suberra its warm feel.
One scientific study of cork described cork’s interlocked cells as rectangular prisms stacked in columns. That’s why cork can look a bit like chicken wire or bubble wrap under a microscope.
Of course, you won’t need a microscope to appreciate Suberra. The underlying benefits of cork will shine right through every day.