A Scottish company which has developed a material made from sugar beet waste believes the sky is the limit – literally. Cellucomp says its Curran product is twice as strong as carbon fiber and could one day be used to make airplane wings.
Curran was invented by Cellucomp co-founders Dr David Hepworth and Dr Eric Whale, a pair of Edinburgh-based scientists looking to create a composite to rival carbon fiber. But having proved the principle of Curran's strength by making a commercially available fly fishing rod, they have since concentrated their efforts on developing a product for the paints and coatings industry.
According to Cellucomp chief executive Christian Kemp-Griffin, Curran's physical strength, combined with its viscosity when added to liquids and composites, make it unique.
“Curran is a material that is derived from nanocellulose particles – root vegetables,” said Kemp-Griffin. “Now when you get down to that very, very small size you actually get incredible strength properties. So when we put the resulting product that we have into other products, as an additive that goes into other products, it actually adds strength to those products, as well as adding viscosity, and there is no other product that will do both things at the same time.”
Curran is the Gaelic word for carrot, which was the first root vegetable that Hepworth and Whale experimented with, due to its easy availability in shops. They moved onto sugar beet, due to the sheer volume of extracted waste in factories from sugar production.
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