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Carbon Black Pigments
Carbon Black is one of the most important types of pigments that have major industrial applications. Carbon blacks are typically elemental Carbon that is available in highly dispersed powdered forms. They are produced from hydrocarbons by controlled vapour-phase pyrolysis. In Producing Carbon Black there are numerous processes available. Mostly all the production processes depends on thermal decomposition or incomplete burning of fuel oil or natural gas(hydro carbons). Majority of all carbon black is made by employing the furnace process."Furnace black" and "channel black" are the two very popular variants of Carbon Black. Others include acetylene black, lamp black and thermal black. Mostly all types of Carbon blacks contain oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen and sulphur bound chemically. While oxygen content is of paramount importance for their usage.

Characteristics of Carbon Black
  • Average particle diameter: In most of the commercially-produced carbon blacks the range is from 0.01 to 0.4 micrometres (µm)
  • Average aggregate diameters: Ranges from 0.1- 0.8µm
  • Percentage of Elemental Carbon: Between 97 to 99
  • Particle size: The following graph shows the particle size of some carbon black pigments.
    Carbon Black

    1. Channel Black
    2. Furnace Black
    3. Acetylene Black
    4. Lamp Black
    5. Blacking
Key Features of Carbon Black
  • Shows good chemical inertness
  • High colour strength in mass tone and in toned down applications.
  • Excellent UV protecting properties
  • Outstanding antistatic properties
  • Good surface appearance
Performance Measures

The following are critical requirements of applicability of carbon Black, albeit, they may vary in importance according to application:

Color Strength- Colour strength of a few type of carbon Black pigment as appearing in Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) polymer is shown in the graph.

Color Strength Color Strength

Masterbatch Dilutability- By the process of measuring the melt viscosity of a given masterbatch formulation, Masterbatch dilutability is approximated and compared. In fact masterbatch dilutability is critical. In the selection of the right carbon black and can result in saving substantial formulation cost.

UV Stability- By addition of carbon black, the stability with regard to UV rays can be increased.

Carbon Black Dispersability

Blue Tone

Application of Carbon Black

Today the use of Carbon black have expanded into many horizons. This include other than pigmenting, applications like UV stabilizing and as a conductive agent in a vast number of specialty products. Popular applications include:

Thermoplastic moulding- Some of the significant applications of carbon black are shown here. Prominent application is found in automotive applications.

Carbon Black Pigment

(Steering and Dash Board system of a car using Carbon Black Pigment)

Plastics- Used in plastic masterbatch applications, like films, conductive packaging, pipes, fibers, moldings, and semi-conductive cable compounds.

Toners and Printing Inks- Carbon blacks are very important printing inks. They significantly enhance formulations and offer broad flexibility in terms of specific color requirements. Applications of carbon Blacks include letterpress. Lithographic, gravure, flexographic, and screen printing processes. It is important here to know that each of these processes needs different performance attributes.

Offset printing- A high color strength along with high pigment loadings, smooth flow, and a viscosity that is fairly working are needed from the application of Carbon Black. Offset ink must not be miscible with water. If the requirement is high gloss then lower oil absorption pigments are required.

Flexography ink- This ink is fluid, with instant drying features. Rheology is a vital factor here. Carbon Black pigments with low oil adsorption pigments are a must.

Screen Printing- The critical performance factors are rheology, low viscosity. This can be achieved by pigment blacks that has higher structures. Optical density property can be obtained by relatively low pigment black loadings.

Coatings- Carbon blacks provide coating applications for sectors like marine and aerospace. By way of pigmentation, conductivity and UV protection.

Industrial Rubber Products and Tyres- Carbon black is applied for uses like innerliners for tyres, sidewalls and treads, for industrial rubber products, usages include belts, hoses and gaskets. In fact a majority of the Carbon Black that is produced goes into the making of reinforcing filler for use in tyres and other rubber article.

Industrial Rubber TyresIndustrial Rubber Products andTyres

Limitations of Carbon Black

There is some chances of hazards resulting from carbon black exposure. Typical classes of chemicals with carcinogenic nature like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), sulphur-containing PAHs, nitro derivatives of PAHs are adsorbed on to surface of carbon black.


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