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Conductive carbon black and graphene nanotubes are popular performance additives that enhance conductivity and mechanical properties of polymers, elastomers, and rubber compounds. This blog explains why.
Materials like elastomers, adhesives, plastics, and coatings usually have low electrical conductivity properties. This can restrict their use in electronic, automotive, medical, aircraft, and other applications requiring electrical conductivity.
Adding high-performance conductive fillers into material formulations can increase the final product’s ability to conduct electrical current. For example, additives enhancing conductivity are used in rubber compound formulations to improve tires’ electrical conductivity. This improves static electric charge dissipation in tires, protecting electronic circuitry and preventing sparks during refuelling.
Graphene nanotubes act as a universal additive in silicone formulations, enabling the production of colored and transparent conductive materials across various industries.
Conductive carbon blacks
Conductive carbon black is a unique carbon black variant offering higher electrical conductivity. It consists of 99% amorphous carbon, and its structure and the porosity of its crystalline particles make it electrically conductive. Several conductive carbon black brands are available, each tailored for specific applications.
For example, Nouryon, a global specialty chemicals leader based in The Netherlands, produces Ketjenblack, a highly pure carbon black variant. It enhances electro-conductivity in polymers, thermosets, thermoplastics, and elastomers.
Ketjenblack stands out by offering superior conductivity with a lower loading quantity compared to conventional carbon black, as shown in the comparison graphic below. Just one-third of the Ketjenblack quantity can achieve the same conductivity as other carbon black additives. This lower loading facilitates processing and minimizes impact on mechanical properties.
Ketjenblack comes in different grades to meet the requirements of specific applications. For instance, Ketejenblack EC-300J has a very low ash content, making it a preferred material in cable shielding and for producing conductive coatings. For more demanding applications, Ketjenblack EC-600JD offers the same conductivity at approximately half the loading.
Photo credit: Lion Specialty Chemicals Company
TUBALL™grades, developed by Luxembourg-based OCSiAl, are graphene nanotubes that enhance the electrical conductivity properties of silicon formulations. This includes liquid silicon rubber (LSR), heat-cured rubber (HCR), and room temperature vulcanizing (RTV) silicones.
Photo credit: tuball.com/
Graphene nanotubes are envisioned as one-atom-thick sheets of graphene rolled into a tube over 5 um long that are one hundred times stronger than steel. This revolutionary additive enhances the physical and conductivity properties of elastomers, polymers, and batteries while having minimal effect on the host matrix’s mechanical and rheological properties. Lightweight and with loading rates less than 0.05%, graphene nanotubes can dramatically transform material properties even at ultra-low concentrations of 0.01%.
Single-wall carbon nanotubes, which shouldn’t be confused with multi-wall carbon nanotubes, add consistent, permanent, and stable electrical conductivity to numerous applications across sectors like automotive, energy, electronics, sensors, aerospace, consumer wearables, and biomedicine. For instance, in the automotive sector, TUBALL can be integrated with polymers having EMI or RFI shielding capabilities, and it can be used in medical device coatings in the biomedicine field.
TUBALL also functions as an additive in ESD, EMI, and FRI paints and for fuel cells and lithium-ion batteries. It can improve more than 70% of all basic materials and has potential applications across up to 50% of global materials markets. Currently, OCSiAl is the only industrial manufacturer of single wall carbon nanotubes.
As a leading raw materials and specialty chemicals distributor, H.M. Royal is a trusted provider of graphene nanotubes from OCSiAl & conductive carbon black from Nouryon. Check out the range of conductive additives on our website or contact us to help you choose the right filler to add conductivity properties to product formulations. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find out more about the products we represent at www.hmroyal.com.