Carbon black manufacturing

History of carbon black

Carbon black was called "soot" in the west and "shouen" in the east.
In the 1740's, plant production started in the United States, and because of the production method used, it was then called "lampblack."
The term "carbon black" originated in the 1870's, when products manufactured from natural gas were sold under this name.
And since then the name prevails.

Carbon black manufacturing process

Carbon black is produced by combusting oil or gas with a great deal of oxygen inside large furnaces. The furnace walls lined with bricks become very hot because the oxygen and oil combust. By varying the amount of oil and air, the internal temperature of the furnace can be altered, which permits manipulation of the particle size and particle connections of the carbon black being produced.
The time required to produce carbon black from oil is so short that it cannot be confirmed by the human eye.

Classification of carbon black manufacturing processes

Manufacturing process Raw material Manufacturing method Explanation
Incomplete combustion Aromatic hydrocarbon oil Oil furnace This is currently the most common method
Mineral/vegetable oils Lampblack Oldest industrial method
Natural gas Channel Flames contact the lower surface of a channel (an H-shaped steel beam)
Gas furnace Useful for fine-particle carbon black
Thermal decomposition Acetylene Acetylene decomposition As this is a heat-generation reaction, continuous production is possible
Natural gas Thermal Combustion and thermal decomposition are repeated in cycles

Oil furnace method

The furnace method is a carbon black production method that uses continual thermal decomposition of feedstock using heat generated by the combustion of fuel and air. To resist high temperatures, a special reaction section is lined with a heat-resistant material. Hot air and fuel (oil) are introduced into this section to undergo complete combustion, which elevates the temperature to 1300 degrees. When a high-temperature atmosphere is formed, feedstock oil is continuously atomized for thermal decomposition.
High-temperature gas with carbon black formed downstream of the reactor is atomized with water to quickly lower its temperature to 1000 degrees, which stops the reaction.
The time between carbon black formation and the end of the reaction is extremely short—generally around a few milliseconds to 2 seconds.
During this short reaction process, adjustments made to the reactor shape and manufacturing conditions—such as the reactor's temperature and reaction time—make possible the manufacture of carbon black with different particle sizes and structures (particle bonds).

Production reactor in the oil furnace method (internal diagram)

Lampblack method

This method has been used since ancient times and consists of heating resin from trees to produce carbon black. In Europe, this method was used until the middle of the 1930's, when it was replaced by the furnace method. Lampblack manufacturing equipment consists of a metallic plate to place the raw material, and a cover with a heat-resistant lining for collection. Between the metallic plate and the cover, there is a space into which air can penetrate. Adjusting the amount of air controls the carbon black quality. Radiant heat from the cover vaporizes the raw material and produces partial combustion, resulting in carbon black.

Diagram of production reactor in the lampblack method