Gratomic, formerly called CKR Carbon Corporation, recently announced that it is expecting to commercialize graphene-enhanced tires in 2018 as a result of its advanced R&D program to include plasma-generated graphene in tires to increase their strength and reduce their.

Gratomic’s graphene material is reportedly being tested in pre-production trials by 5 major tire manufacturers in Asia and Europe with a consolidated demand in excess of 5000 tonnes of graphene annually.

Gratomic, an advanced materials company focused on mine-to-market commercialization of graphite products (most notably various high-value graphene-based components), is collaborating with Perpetuus Advanced Materials, a European manufacturer of graphene to use graphite from its Aukam project to manufacture graphene products for commercialization on an industrial scale.

Perpetuus eportedly developed and is commercializing a plasma-based reactor process for producing industrial scale, cost-effective, surface engineered Advanced Materials, commencing with graphene. Test results of tires using plasma processed graphite-derived graphene show:

  • Higher grip braking reduced by 2 meters at 50 kph, which is a significant safety feature;
  • Improved rolling resistance, which means longer free wheel & increased fuel economy. This is particularly important to fleet managers whose bottom line is highly dependent on fuel economy;
  • Comparison of graphene tires to a premium brand tire showed that the graphene tires outlasted the premium non-graphene tires by approximately 5,000 kilometers in real world road conditions; and,
  • Cost-effective as compared to carbon black.

Graphene is used as a substitute to carbon black, one of the 4 components of tires: rubber, nylon, steel and carbon black. Carbon black is mainly used as a reinforcing filler in rubber products. Graphene is said to have a greater surface to volume ratio, which makes it more suitable as a filler in tires that carbon black.

The dispersion of graphene from Perpetuus’ plasma technology was explained to allow to increase the functional role of graphene as a superior substitute for carbon black. Elastomer blends are prepared for realizing the maximum surface area along with empathetic matrix selective functionalization – facilitating the efficient mixing of graphene stacks into the tires elastomeric targeted matrix. Dispersion routes include high shear mixing melt intercalation & in situ polymerisation.