A start-up company named Space Blue, located in Manchester has launched a range of products with the focus on reducing wastage of vehicle tyres. The company is supported by the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre's (GEIC) ERDF Bridging the Gap program at The University of Manchester. With the support from GEIC, Dr. Vivek Koncherry, has developed a product named SpaceMat.
The company Space Blue has successfully developed graphene-enhanced recycled rubber products for mass-market applications
SpaceMat is a flooring product which uses graphene- It has the capability to improve the performance of recycled rubber from tyres which was a tough task to many considering the previous efforts put-forth to produce high- quality recycled rubber from tyres. The shedding of microplastics also was a major concern of many but Koncherry has overcome this issue with his 'SpaceMat'.
The SpaceMat product is constructed from 80% waste tyre material and 20% graphene-enhanced natural rubber. The graphene has the ability to strengthen the rubber which means that the rubber product has increased durability. Using graphene, it is possible to engineer the mechanical performance of the recycled material, bringing it close to the performance of a virgin polymer system.
James Baker, CEO Graphene@Manchester, said: "Our Bridging the Gap program specifically targets Greater Manchester-based SMEs and has been a great opportunity to support local innovation.
He added, It's really exciting to see this new company entering into the market, in particular with its focus on supporting environmental sustainability and a good re-use of scrap tires, which otherwise could cause significant pollution and waste product."
Paul Wiper, Application Manager for Bridging the Gap at the GEIC mentioned about their role: "This is exactly the type to enterprise and concept our BtG program aims to address. We offer technical input and R&D programs to Greater Manchester start-ups and existing companies to accelerate graphene-based products and processes."