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Corian is the brand name for a solid surface material created by E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont). It is the original material of this type, created by DuPont scientists in 1967.It is composed of acrylic polymer and alumina trihydrate (ATH), a material derived from bauxite ore. Its primary use is as a countertop/benchtop surface, though it has many other applications.
Corian is manufactured in three thicknesses: 6 millimetres (0.24 in), 12 millimetres (0.47 in), and 19 millimetres (0.75 in). Most Corian is manufactured at a DuPont facility near Buffalo, New York.
Cross-section cuts show consistent color and particulate patterning evenly distributed throughout the material, giving rise to the category name “Solid Surface.”
It must be sold and installed by a DuPont certified fabricator and such installations come with a 10-year warranty covering both product and installation, for interior residential applications.
Dr. Donald Slocum, a DuPont chemist, is credited as the inventor of Corian solid surface in 1967. His name appears on the patent issued in October 1968. A “Space Age” material, the product has evolved since its invention and spawned many imitations. The product was first introduced for sale in 1971, at the National Association of Home Builder’s meeting in Houston, Texas.
Originally conceived as a kitchen/bath material available in a single color, Corian is available today in more than 100 colors. In the years subsequent to its market debut, DuPont introduced “integrated” Corian sinks that could be seamlessly integrated with a Corian countertop in a kitchen or bathroom.
In 2013, the company announced its Endless Evolution initiative in an effort to improve the material and find additional applications for its use.As part of this initiative, in 2014 DuPont introduced its "Deep Color" technology which was showcased in its “Corian 2.0” exhibition during Milan’s Design Week. The enhancement allows for the material to be created in deeper, darker colors that are more resistant to scratches and cuts than earlier generation Corian material.
DuPont has issued various sub-branded releases of the material which contain unique design elements and/or methods of manufacture. Notably these have included:
Heat resistance: the material is heat resistant up to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, but can be damaged by excess heat. DuPont recommends the use of trivets when the material is installed in kitchens.
Scratches: The material can be scratched, with scratches particularly noticeable on darker colors. Most damage or scratches are repairable, however.
Corian is a type of premium decorative surface. The expiration of DuPont’s patent on solid surfaces helped facilitate a number of direct solid surface competitors to Corian.
Major competing brands include:
Corian also competes at a price point similar to other Premium Decorative Surfaces. Other notable non-solid surface competitors include:
Safety of installed material: Corian meets or exceeds current emissions guidelines for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) and is GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified®. Corian is nontoxic and nonallergenic to humans. It is free of heavy metals and complies with the EU Directive 2002/95EC on the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS). Its hygienic properties make it popular in installations where maintaining sanitary conditions are important (i.e. hospitals and restaurants).
Fabricator Safety: In 2014, the New England Journal of Medicine reported a case of a 64-year-old exercise physiologist who died from lung disease consistent with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis after 16 years of exposure to Corian dust. Dust from Corian was found in the patient's garage and lung upon autopsy. The authors said that the case was consistent with Corian dust causing idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, but did not prove causality. DuPont scientists responded that exposure to other materials could not be ruled out.