Curran is a material based on cellulose nanofibers from sugarbeet, carrots, or other tubers, extracted from food industry waste. Its fibers are twice as strong as carbon fibers and hold promise for a wide range of industrial and technological applications. The material is produced and marketed by the Scottish company Cellucomp. According to the company, curran is gaelic for carrot, another source of the material.
Invention and development
The material was developed by Dr David Hepworth and Dr Eric Whale.
Curran fibres are promoted as "strong, stiff and light" and a possible replacement for carbon fiber in composite materials.
The material is promoted for use in composite materials, and as a reinforcing additive in paints and coatings, concrete, cosmetics and as a fiber in a range of products from sports equipment, and even automobile and aerospace parts. The first curran-based product to be marketed in 2007 was a fishing rod, the E21 Carrotstix, which contains 50% curran made from 2 kg of vegetable matter, and 50% carbon fiber - and which won a first prize at the 2007 Icast awards.
The Cellucomp factory in Edinburgh is reported to produce 400 tons per year, with plans to expand to 2000 tons per year. Curran is made in a process where nano fibres found in vegetables are extracted and combined with resins into a paste that can be molded into different shapes, for example as a coating, in laminate sheets or even spun into thread. And based on the composition the material can be produced with different degrees of strength, stiffness and lightness.