Black Swan Graphene has announced a range of Graphene Enhanced Masterbatch ("GEM") products. These GEMs offer different performance and attributes of products aimed at multiple applications in the polymer industry. This announcement follows a recent commercial agreement ratified with Hubron International, a global leader in black masterbatch manufacturing.
Black Swan stated that its products are the results of extensive internal development efforts, including independent verification using the expertise at the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre ("GEIC") and a strategic partnership with Hubron. The primary objective of the product development endeavors extends beyond performance; it strives for consistency, a pivotal factor in the commercialization of additive products.
Initial production volumes are focused on polypropylene; a widely used polymer known for its versatility and cost-effectiveness. However, its relatively low impact resistance has often posed a challenge in various applications. By incorporating only 1% of graphene into the polypropylene (loading ratio), an impressive 30% improvement in impact resistance was achieved in a Notched Izod test, which assesses the amount of energy absorbed by a material when struck by a notched sample.
Graphene enhanced products, with the addition of Black Swan's product, reportedly demonstrate multiple performance benefits, including enhanced processability and therefore cost-effectiveness. Masterbatches with a loading ratio of up to 20% are available in various polymers. This repeatable performance in enhancing the impact resistance of polypropylene enables new possibilities across multiple industries, notably for different packaging and lightweighting in the transportation industry, a key driver for range increase and fuel efficiency.
Hubron and Black Swan are also working with the polymer matrix of a world-leading industrial polymer manufacturer, which launched an aggressive initiative to develop plastic materials for electric vehicles aimed at reduced weight, expand design freedom, reduce complexity, enhance thermal management, and reduce environmental impact. The development program resulted thus far in a 20% improvement in tensile strength, based on a loading ratio of only 0.2%.
Robert Laurent, Technical Director at Hubron, commented: "These results further add weight to the potential benefits of incorporating graphene materials into thermoplastics. A 30% impact resistance improvement is exciting, and we are looking to expand these trials into commercial applications. We are also able to fine-tune compound properties to deliver customer specific solutions."
Simon Marcotte, President and Chief Executive Officer of Black Swan, commented: "This development marks a substantial leap in advancing the performance of polymer materials. The enhanced capabilities of graphene-enhanced polypropylene not only signify a breakthrough but also have the potential to reshape entire industries. We are confident that this innovation will spark creativity and drive transformative solutions across a diverse range of products and applications."
In the coming months, Black Swan is also looking to introduce similar products for Polyamide 6 ("PA6"), a polymer known for its toughness, flexibility and chemical resistance, Polyamide 66 ("PA66"), a similar polymer with greater stiffness, strength, heat resistance, and melting point than PA6, Polyethylene Terephthalate ("PET"), a thermoplastic polymer known for transparency, strength, chemical resistance and recyclability, ideally suited for food packaging and beverage bottles, as well as for Polylactic Acid ("PLA") a biodegradable thermoplastic aimed at sustainable and compostable products.