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Cork is a useful material for making a number of things — wine bottles, furniture, and cork boards, to name a few–but airplane parts? A group of Portuguese cork producers recently launched the Aerocork project, which is investigating the feasibility of replacing plastic PVC with cork in the fuselage, wings, and flaps of light aircraft. The cork-based parts could be coated in carbon fiber sheets to create a lightweight, fire-retardant material.

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