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  • re "permeability" of wine corks

    When a cork is comnpressed in the neck of a bottle, the air pressure in the corks cells is approximately doubled. Under these circumstances, the only permeation of oxygen is from the cork to the atmosphere, and it may take a year or more for the concentration of oxygen in the cells to equalise with that in the air. In those first few months the rate of SO2 decline is at its greatest. So clearly, cork permeability is not the cause of major oxidation. As the resilience of the cork declines, it's the same for all compressible materials, there is a decline in the sealing pressure and greater opportunity for oygen to pass brtween the cork and the glass, particularly if the cork has ben weakened by exposure to excessive headspace pressure.

    The initial decline in SO2 appears to be logarithmic, and this is typical of chemical reactions in which there is fixed quantity of one of the reactants, in this case the oxidanta and oxygen in the sealed bottle. More research needed? The road block to further enlightenment is the misconceptions about the nature and significance of the mechanisms involved in using wine corks, and the failure to understand the underlying mechanisms of oxygen absorption.
    John Casey<br />?
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