Among its many other remarkable qualities, graphene is the world's strongest human-made material. It's perhaps not all that surprising, therefore, that it's now been incorporated into a chain-protecting bicycle lubricant – and quite a pricey one, at that.
For readers who are unfamiliar with the material, graphene takes the form of a one atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms, which are linked together in a honeycomb pattern. Because there's currently no quick and easy method of producing huge quantities of the stuff at high quality, it's pretty expensive. And although graphene is made from graphite, graphene and graphite are not the same thing.
For its new GRAPHENlube lubricant, British manufacturer absoluteBLACK has added tiny platelets of high-purity graphene to a solution consisting of water and hydrocarbon wax. The product reportedly does not contain any toxic solvents, and is biodegradable.
After initially cleaning the old lube off their chain, users immerse that chain in a bath of GRAPHENlube – a plastic bag is included for this purpose. The solution goes on as a light grey liquid, but once the water evaporates from it, what's left behind is a black paste-like solid.