DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Section through a wine cork, coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). The structure of the cellulose cell walls can be seen. Cork is taken from the bark of the cork oak tree (Quercus suber). The cork oak is native to Spain and Portugal. It has thick bark which is stripped periodically to yield cork for use in stoppers, panels and coverings. The trees are first stripped at 25-30 years old and then every ten years to obtain cork wood. Cork's elasticity combined with its near-impermeability makes it suitable as a material for bottle stoppers, especially for wine bottles. Magnification: x50 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.
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