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Black Swan’s Graphene Located in Quebec Announces Breakthrough in Abrasion Resistant Plastics

May 3, 2023

Black Swan Graphene Inc. announced that the latest version of its GraphCore™001 graphene nanoplatelet material ("Graphcore") enhances the composite abrasion resistance by a range of 60% to 80%, when used as an additive in Thermoplastic Polyurethane ("TPU"). 

The company had previously communicated an already enviable enhancement performance of 45% in TPU with a 1% loading ratio (amount of additive material added to a composite material, relative to the amount of matrix material). 

"Today's performance results serve as a reminder that graphene could revolutionize the enormous polymer industry, “ said Simon Marcotte, President and Chief Executive Officer of Black Swan Graphene.

TPU is a thermoplastic elastomer combining some properties of both plastic and rubber. It is tough, flexible, durable, and resistant to abrasion as well as to oils and lubricants. This unique combination of properties makes TPU ideally suitable for various applications including in automotive, sports equipment, textile coatings, and mobile handsets.

Black Swan Graphene Inc. is emerging as a major powerhouse in the bulk graphene business. The combination of raw material from Mason Graphite, together with the patent portfolio developed by Thomas Swan over a period of 10 years, uniquely positions us as a major supplier of graphene and graphene nanoplatelets (GNP). Thomas Swan & Co. Ltd. is a United Kingdom-based global chemicals manufacturer, with a century-long track record and has been at the forefront of graphene innovation. https://blackswangraphene.com/

Black Swan is focused on the large-scale production and commercialization of patented high-performance and low-cost graphene products aimed at several industrial sectors, including concrete, polymers, Li-ion batteries, and others, which are expected to require large volumes of graphene. 

Black Swan aims to leverage the low cost and green hydroelectricity of the province of Québec as well as the proximity of the province’s emerging graphite industry in order to establish an integrated supply chain, reduce overall costs, and accelerate the deployment of graphene usage. 

The Lac Guéret open-pit graphite mine located in north-eastern Québec, Canada, is being developed by Mason Graphite, in a joint venture with Nouveau Monde Graphite. Mason Graphite  acquired the property from Cliffs Natural Resources in 2012. https://masongraphite.com/news/

The manufacture of the composites, being the Graphcore-enhanced TPU, and the subsequent testing, were carried out independently at the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre ("GEIC") located at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. The precise type of TPU selected for the trials is currently used in mobile equipment and extruded sheets, which are generally used in many industries from packaging to transportation and construction materials. The composites were manufactured via a masterbatch and then moulded to carry out the tests, which were based on loading ratios of 0.5%, 1.0%, and 1.5%.

“In addition to improving abrasion resistance, graphene offers meaningful benefits such as weight reduction, cost savings, enhanced precision, improved gas permeability, and increased thermal conductivity, all of which can improve existing markets and pave the way for new applications,” Marcotte added.

The abrasion tests correspond to norm ISO 5470 - 1:2016 – Taber abrasion1. Three thousand (3,000) cycles were carried out using standard abrasive wheels with 1,000 grams of weight per wheel. The weight loss was recorded after each 1,000 cycles. Between each 1,000 cycles, the wheels were abraded with the standard sandpaper to 50 cycles; sandpaper was changed for the start of each new test.

The current plastic additive market (and not the plastic market itself) is estimated to be approximately USD $40 billion per year2. In its 2021 report3, The Graphene Council estimated that the potential annual graphene requirements, when combining all different types of polymers at a 5% loading ratio, would be 12.5 million tons of graphene.

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