Italian start-up Graphene-XT has developed a new graphene-based lubricating oil for cars and motorcycles. The researchers found that adding graphene makes the oil more stable and helps to reduce friction, heat and wear between engine parts. Tests conducted using the graphene-based lubricant in a motocross engine have confirmed these benefits.
Better for engines and the environment
Engine lubricants consist of base oils that are enhanced with various additives to improve the oils’ properties. However, most traditional lubricants are petroleum-based, making them toxic to the environment and difficult to dispose of after use. By replacing some hazardous components in traditional oils, graphene could help make them less toxic and more easily recyclable. Developed with support from the EU-funded GrapheneCore3 project, Graphene-XT’s new lubricating oils result in more compression and less wear and tear in both petrol and diesel engine parts. “The addition of graphene improves the oil’s tribological properties, making it more suitable for high-pressure, high-stress environments,” explained Graphene-XT CEO Simone Ligi in an article posted on the Graphene Flagship project website. He then went on to outline further benefits: “Graphene also has very good heat transfer properties, important to make lubricants safer at higher temperatures. All of these effects combined together reduce engine noise and fuel consumption.” With their greater stability and performance, the graphene-based lubricants will keep engines safer for longer periods of time.
Motocross test confirms lab results
The oil was trialled for effectiveness in a motocross engine. After adding the new lubricant to the engine, the motorcycle was tested on a motocross track. The biker’s feedback confirmed the researchers’ lab findings: the graphene-enhanced lubricant results in less noise and better performance. “The motocross engine is under a lot of stress. It needs a lot of maintenance, and sometimes requires an oil change as frequently as every three hours. This was a really hard test for graphene, but it clearly shows our product works,” observed Ligi. The new lubricant’s long-term performance is also being evaluated in other vehicles, such as cars and light trucks. “It is great to see that with the support of the Graphene Flagship, the new product’s development has been accelerated up to the point of product release,” remarked Alex Jouvray of GrapheneCore3 project partner Aixtron Limited. “This is the aim of the Production Work Package. The team at Graphene-XT has done an excellent job in identifying a gap in the market and developing a new product to meet this market,” continued Jouvray, who is the leader of the Graphene Flagship Work Package for Production. GrapheneCore3 (Graphene Flagship Core Project 3), the Graphene Flagship’s third core project, is working to bring European graphene innovation out of the lab and into commercial applications by 2023. For more information, please see: Graphene Flagship project website
GrapheneCore3, graphene, lubricant, oil, engine, motocross, motorcycle