Carbon Black is a black special chemical, which is available as powder or beads. It gets manufactured in highly controlled processes and contains more than 95% pure carbon. Other components are oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen. The black particles are 10nm to approximately 500nm big and fuse into chain-like aggregates, which define the structure of individual Carbon Black grades. Depending on the production process Carbon Black types differ in size, surface chemistry, porosity and many other characteristics. During the after-treatment process the oxygen percentage within the Carbon Black can be changed according to the required needs.
Carbon Black is used in a multitude of industries. By enhancing the physical, electrical and optical properties of various materials it brings the final product to the top of its performance. It can either get blended with additives, elastomers or binding agents and integrates itself into customer’s formula or it can already be pre-processed in form of a so called “preparation”. This product is a mixture of Carbon Black and certain additives and saves the customer many production steps.
The properties of most Carbon Black grades are determined by industry-wide standards which have been developed by the German Institute for Standardization (DIN), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), with the latter being the most widely used, especially for Rubber Carbon Black grades. These standards are not only used as a measure by which types of Carbon Black are characterized but also as a quality assurance tool for the production process.
How several Carbon Black differ from each other
Several chemical and physical properties serve to determine the differences between the various Carbon Blacks. Aggregation, or structuring, refers to the way in which the carbon particles are permanently fused together in a random branching structure, or chain, and impacts rheology reinforcement as well as light scattering properties. The particle size is one criterion to distinguish Carbon Black types. Small particles lead to a very high tinting strength, high jetness level, excellent UV-protection and better conductivity. Big particles improve the viscosity and dipersibility properties within the application. Another parameter is the structure of these aggregates. The primary particles can either be bond loosely together or piled up in a very complex construct. A high structure, meaning a complex system, lead to a very strong reinforcement power of Carbon Black, while a low structure achieves very good results in the gloss of coatings and inks. The third main criterion to distinguish Carbon Black types is the chemical characteristics of the particle surface, which can either be acidic or basic depending on the type of volatile components on the surface. Acidic volatile components improve the dispersibility of Carbon Black. This is also the reason, why our after-treatment processing has been established to further enhance the performance of our products and adapt it to the customer’s needs.
Like all other aspects, the purity level on the surface of the Carbon Black and the particle distribution depend on the production process. Purity refers to the quantities of other substances which are incorporated into the Carbon Black next to pure Carbon, like nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen.