April 15, 2024
Conductive Carbon Black

Harnessing the Power of Conductive Carbon Black: A Comprehensive Analysis of its Electrical and Thermal Conductivity

Conductive carbon black has applications in many areas due to its unique electrical conductivity properties. It is an engineered form of carbon black that allows electrical signals to pass through easily, making it useful in various industries where conductivity is important. This article will discuss the properties and uses of conductive carbon black through multiple sections under relevant headings and subheadings.

Properties of Conductive Carbon Black

Electrical Conductivity

Conductive carbon black has a finer particle size distribution compared to regular carbon black. This results in a large surface area which allows electrons to move easily between particles when an electrical current is applied. The electrical resistivity of conductive carbon black ranges from 100-1500 ohm-cm, making it a good conductor. Its percolation threshold, the minimum amount required to achieve conductivity in a composite, is also very low at around 5-15%. This allows formulations to be optimised without using excess material.

Thermal Properties

In addition to electrical conductivity, conductive carbon black also demonstrates good thermal conductivity properties. Due to the large interconnected network formed by its particles, heat is effectively distributed throughout materials containing conductive carbon black. This makes it useful for applications involving heat dissipation. Its thermal conductivity is around 8W/mK. Like electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity also increases with higher loading levels of conductive carbon black.

Applications in Batteries

One of the major uses of conductive carbon black is in lithium-ion batteries which power devices such as smartphones, laptops, electric vehicles and more. It is added to the battery electrode to improve electrical contact between the active material and the current collector. This allows efficient transfer of ions and electrons during the charge/discharge process. By reducing contact resistance, conductive carbon black improves battery performance metrics like energy density, power, cycle life and charge acceptance. It is a key additive that assists in achieving the high power and energy levels demanded by today’s advanced batteries.

Conductive Inks and Coatings

Printed Electronics

The conductive nature of carbon black makes it suitable for developing various types of conductive inks and coatings. These find increasing application in the area of printed electronics such as screens, sensors and photovoltaics. Conductive inks containing carbon black can be deposited using printing techniques like inkjet printing, screen printing, gravure printing and others. Once dry, they form a conductive layer that acts as wires or electrodes. This allows intricate electronic circuits to be directly “printed” onto flexible plastic films or paper substrates. Compared to traditional electronic manufacturing methods, printed electronics have advantages like lower cost and less material waste. Conductive carbon black plays a vital role in making this sustainable technology possible.

EMI Shielding

Electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding is another major application of conductive coatings using carbon black. Electronic devices emit electromagnetic waves that can interfere with nearby sensitive equipment. Conductive coatings painted or sprayed onto surfaces shield these emissions. They perform this function by absorbing electromagnetic energy then dissipating it as heat due to the large conductive network of carbon black particles. This prevents EM waves from propagating beyond the shielded enclosure. EMI shieldingfinds application in automobiles, aerospace and consumer electronics to ensure smooth functioning free of interference.

Conductive Composites


Carbon black can be mixed into polymers to manufacture various conductive plastic composites. Even at low loadings, carbon black modifies the electrical and electrostatic properties of plastic materials. This has uses such as in connectors, switches, sensor housings and electrostatic discharge (ESD) applications. Conductive carbon black filled plastics achieve surface resistivity values required for applications involving contact with electronic devices. They effectively dissipate static charges to ground. Carbon black composites are also utilized for applications requiring electromagnetic shielding of plastic housings or ESD protection of plastic films.


The rubber industry is another major end-use sector for conductive carbon black. It is added to rubber compounds during tire manufacturing to impart unique electrical and mechanical properties. Rubber compounds filled with carbon black have high abrasion resistance and mechanical properties necessary for tires. Additionally, carbon black provides electrical conductivity which prevents the build-up of static electricity on vehicle tires. This conductivity is important for safety applications such as anti-lock braking and electric vehicle charging. Carbon black filled tires also have good rolling resistance which impacts vehicle efficiency.

Future Outlook

New applications of Conductive Carbon Black are on the rise due to innovations in various industries. In electric vehicles, it can play a larger role in components like battery modules, wire harnesses and conductive plastics. Deicing systems in aircraft use conductive carbon black filled coatings. Its properties also support developing ‘smart’ and self-monitoring materials. The launch of 5G networks may drive further use of carbon black for EMI shielding applications. Overall, conductive carbon black stands to gain increased importance as new technologies continue to rely more heavily on electrical conductivity and other benefits this versatile additive provides. Continuous product development by manufacturers will further expand the scope and performance of conductive carbon black.

1.Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2.We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it