Reports out of China state that Chinese authorities have audited and approved research by Linglong Tire into the "large-scare application" of graphene rubber composites in tires".
The research was conducted jointly by Beijing Tiancheng Linglong Tire, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Linglong Tire, and Beijing University of Chemical Technology. An audit was conducted by Beijing Municipal Science & Technology Commission along with other Chinese technology institutes.
Led by South China University of Technology professor Guo Baochun, the team completed trial production of graphene-enhanced tires at Linglong's Zhaoyuan factory. This involved a graphene 'pre-treatment' technology that enables tires to be made without changing existing manufacturing processes or equipment. Linglong did note, however, that the technology required some adjustments to the process to help ensure the feasability of production.
The graphene tires, Linglong said, showed promising results in several areas including fuel-efficiency, safety and anti-static, and energy-saving. More specifically, Linglong said a fuel-efficient grade of its graphene tire was close to a grade A rating under EU tire labeling regulations.
Linglong also linked the fuel-consumption improvements to a "micro-interface technology" developed by the research team.
In terms of wet-grip, the Chinese tire maker expects the product to achieve an A grade under EU labeling protocol.
The abrasion resistance and thermal conductivity of the tires have "varying degrees of improvement" over high-performance "green" tires on the market, added Linglong.