Applications for Specialty Carbon Blacks

Specialty Carbon Blacks are important industrial raw materials, widely used in plastics, printing inks and coatings. Beyond colorization and tinting, these high-tech pigments can improve formulation and processing, and impart important properties such as UV resistance to help extend product life.

Printing Systems

The most important features of Specialty Carbon Black are the size of the pigment primary particles and the structure of the aggregates. These parameters define the colorimetric properties such as undertone, optical density, gloss and also the rheological effect of Specialty Carbon Blacks and their dispersibility in binders.

An additionally important property of Specialty Carbon Black is the nature of the pigment surface, which depends on the production and after treatment process. This surface chemistry is important for the wettability of the carbon black by the binder, and in this way also influences properties such as ink rheology and gloss.

Furthermore the choice of the right Specialty Carbon Black is largely determined by the print technology and its special demands on printing ink properties, such as color development, dispersing technology, binder system, rheology, film thickness, matting or optical density.

Coating Systems

Specialty Carbon Blacks are used in paints and coatings for mass tone coloration, tinting of white and colored coatings, including decorative paints, and for transparent coloration.

For mass tone coloration of solvent-borne coatings, the use of fine particle sized oxidized gas blacks (HCG (o) / MCG (o)) and oxidized furnace blacks (HCF) are preferred. Untreated fine particle sized gas and furnace blacks (HCG/HCF) are also used in water-borne coatings for reasons of pH stability.

Orion Engineered Carbons major market applications for Specialty Carbon Blacks for coatings are:

  • Automotive coatings
  • Industrial coatings
  • Architectual coatings

Within these applications Orion Engineered Carbons offers four different types of coating systems:

  • Water-borne coatings
  • Solvent-borne coatings
  • Powder coatings
  • Radiation curing coatings

Influence of the primary particle size on the coloristic properties of Specialty Carbon Blacks in coatings

100 nm


10 nm

Full Color


Degree of Blackness


White Blend


Tinting Strengh



Slightly opaque


Brown to
brown - red

Polymer Systems

Specialty Carbon Blacks in the Polymer Industry are used for obtaining a deep jet black color and absorb detrimental UV light and convert it into heat. This makes plastics such as polyoelfines and polyethylene more resistant to UV radiation. A clear correlation between primary particle size and UV protection can be observed: The finer the particle size, the better the ultraviolet light absorption. UV protection is important for extending the life of exterior coatings, adhesives and sealants, plastic pipe, and other products exposed to the sun.

Anti-static treatment is also an important application area e.g., in the field of compounds for power cables. In the Plastics industry Specialty Carbon Blacks are used to pigment synthetic fibres.

Energy Systems

Conductive Carbon Blacks of Orion Engineered Carbons are offering an excellent balance of electrical conductivity, dispersibility, and adjustability of rheological properties in viscous pastes and slurries.

They are suitable for a broad range of energy storage devices in numerous applications such as consumer electronics (3C), electric power tools, e-bikes, electric stationary storage (ESS), telecommunication and electrical power grids (UPS), micro- and mild hybrid electrical vehicles (HEV), full- and plug-in HEV, and full electric vehicles (EV).

Our Conductive Carbon Blacks are applied in following energy storage devices:

  • Enhanced Flooded (EFB) and Enhanced Valve Regulated Lead Acid Batteries (VRLA) - AGM or gel type
  • Classical Starter Lead Acid Batteriers (SLI)
  • Ultrabatteries or Lead Carbon Batteries
  • Electrochemical Double Layer Capacitors (EDLC) or Supercapacitors
  • Lithium Ion Battery (LIB)
  • Nickel Metal Hybrid Batteries (NiMH)
  • Emerging battery technologies such as Lithium Sulfur (LIS) and Lithium Air Batteries (Li-Air)

Orion's Carbon Blacks can be furthermore perfectly adjusted and modified to further improve manufacturing steps for all kind of battery electrodes. Due to our optimized production processes and raw material selection, lowest impurity levels can be achieved in order to enhance life time and performance of batteries even further.

Special Applications

Specialty Carbon Blacks show their superiority in special effects. Typical special effects can be found in the areas of thermal insulation or rheology control, respectively, when using as a reducing agent or an antioxidant.

Conductivity and antistatic effects can be comprised by a great variety of Specialty Carbon Blacks. After reaching a specific concentration nearly all Specialty Carbon Blacks offer conductivity. The so-called percolation curve is a result of the carbon - carbon interactions inside a matrix.

Relatively coarse particles characterize the Carbon Blacks utilized in the Construction Industry.

The Paper Industry uses Specialty Carbon Blacks with medium-sized particles mainly for decorative and photo-protective products.