Adding carbon black (CB) particles to elastomeric polymers is essential to the successful industrial use of rubber in many applications, and the mechanical reinforcing effect of CB in rubber has been studied for nearly 100 years. Despite these many decades of investigations, the origin of stiffness enhancement of elastomers from incorporating nanometer-scale CB particles is still debated. It is not universally accepted whether the interactions between polymer chains and CB surfaces are purely physical adsorption or whether some polymer–particle chemical bonds are also introduced in the process of mixing and curing the CB-filled rubber compounds. We review key experimental observations of rubber reinforced with CB, including the finding that heat treatment of CB can greatly reduce the filler reinforcement effect in rubber. The details of the particle morphology and surface chemistry are described to give insights into the nature of the CB–elastomer interfaces. This is followed by a discussion of rubber processing effects, the influence of CB on crosslinking, and various chemical modification approaches that have been employed to improve polymer–filler interactions and reinforcement. Finally, we contrast various models that have been proposed for rationalizing the CB reinforcement of elastomers.
Carbon black is a highly engineered form of carbon widely used in paints as paint carbon black, coatings and inks to achieve a spectrum ranging from gray to deep black. Over the time, the properties of carbon black pigment have been modified to achieve required properties in the final product, such as increased tinting strength, improved the level of jetness or blue undertone and conductivity.
Explore the different carbon black production processes and the properties to consider while selecting the right carbon black for your formulations.
Properties and End-uses of Carbon Black
Carbon black is used in many products and articles we use and see around us on a daily basis, such as: rubbers, plastics, coatings, tires, ink carbon clack.
Thus, the requirements for the carbon black are different for each application and influence the specific properties in the final application.
For the coating carbon blacks market, there is a wide range of carbon black grades available. This can make it difficult to choose the most suitable carbon black for your final application. For example, when aiming for automotive paint with a blue undertone, the carbon black of choice will have a high jetness. However, normally these types of carbon black grades are the most difficult to disperse correctly into the desired particle size.
The carbon black producers are addressing these issues by developing specialty carbon black grades that have been surface-modified and/or are pre-treated to overcome these difficulties.
How Carbon Black is Produced?
The properties of the carbon black are influenced by the method of preparation. The different processes used for channel carbon black production are discussed below.
Recovered carbon black or (r)CB is a fast-expanding market. Recovered high purity carbon black is obtained through the pyrolysis process of end-of-life tires. The importance of companies in the production and use of recovered carbon black is three-fold:
In a typical car tire, up to 15 different types of conductive carbon blacks can be used, each attributing to the different properties required. This blend of environmental carbon blacks will then also be the make-up of the final (r)CB composition. Besides tires, other sources that can be used are rubber conveyor belts or other technical rubber products.
The main differences in the properties of recovered carbon black are:
The ash content is higher for (r)CB caused by the fillers being used in tire production.
A blend of rubber carbon black properties as a result of the carbon black used in the tire.
Residual hydrocarbons on the carbon black surface, depending on the quality of the pyrolysis process.
To understand how the properties of (r)CB influence the final applications and to know which plastic carbon black is used in which category, we need to understand the fundamental differences between the available carbon blacks.