By A. Menelle, 20/05/2014
Cork is used in a variety of products going from construction materials to gaskets, but its most important use is as a stopper for premium wines. The technology of stopping wine bottles with cork originated in 1680 with the first use of cork to seal Champagne by Dom Pierre Pérignon. The principle requirements for using cork as stoppers are the homogeneity of the cork and the loss of cavities and / or cracks. The quality grading of cork is based on visual analysis taking into account the three main types of defects: pores (lenticular channels), physiological anomalies (nails, clay), pathogenic anomalies (insect galleries). All these inspections allow to analyzing only the external surface of the stoppers. Thus cracks or holes inside the stopper are not detected. The first objective of the experiments performed by neutron imaging on cork stoppers with IMAGINE was to compare the amount of defects between natural cork, Grade 0 (high quality) and Grade 4 (low quality), evaluating the empty space volume into different samples of each quality. The figure presents the image obtained for two samples of different grades.
Quality grading of cork stoppers: amount of defects inside the material
Aurélie Tachon, Thomas Karbowiak, Camille Loupiac, Régis Gougeon, Jean-Pierre Bellat
A collaboration between “Université de Bourgone” at Dijon and the LLB