Carbon black is an extremely versatile substance which is making an increasingly valuable contribution to the automotive industry. Imerys is the leading supplier of highly conductive carbon-based solutions for conductive carbon black used in lithium-ion batteries powering electric vehicles and consumer electronics. It is also a valuable ingredient in polymer compounds used in electronic devices and the automotive industry.
A wide range of properties
Carbon black refers to any group of intensely black, finely divided forms of amorphous carbon, usually obtained as a sooty powder from the partial combustion of hydrocarbons. It is generally produced by the incomplete combustion of heavy petroleum products such as FCC tar, coal tar, ethylene cracking tar, and a small amount of vegetable oil.
Carbon black particles are generally spherical in shape and less crystalline than graphite. They have a high surface-area-to-volume ratio. Carbon blacks vary enormously in particle size depending on the process by which they are made.
Carbon black is valued for its excellent electrical conductivity, as a reinforcement agent, as a pigment, for its properties and resistance to wear.
Imerys produces high-quality, high purity conductive carbon blacks used in batteries, polymers, fuel cells, and powder metallurgy applications.
- Electrical conductivity
- Resistance to wear
- Chemically inert
- Insoluble in water
Over a century of expertise
Imerys has a strong tradition and history in carbon manufacturing, with its first manufacturing operation founded way back in 1908 in the Swiss canton of Ticino. Today, we produce and market a large variety of conductive carbon blacks of consistently high quality at our processing plant near Brussels in Belgium which produces speciality-type carbon blacks to serve the lithium-ion batteries, fuel cells, polymers, hard metal, and powder metallurgy industries.
Further upstream, the Imerys Technology Center in Bironico, Switzerland, is dedicated to the study of graphite and carbon across a range of applications including batteries, fuel cells, brakes and clutches, carbon brushes, hard metals, powder metallurgy, and refractories. Our laboratory in Kawasaki, Japan, focuses on the application development of electrochemical systems using graphites and carbons. Our centre in Toulouse is specialized in the study of polymers.
Supporting the performance of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles
Imerys highly conductive bespoke carbon black solutions are valuable for the production of lithium-ion batteries used to power new-generation consumer electronics and electric vehicles, where they boost energy density and shorten charging times. They are especially suited to high-capacity, ultra-thin lithium-ion batteries used in new generation mobile phones and tablets, where they improve battery charge.
In fuel cells, Imerys porous carbon blacks are essential components in gas diffusion layers, the thin porous sheet which provides electrical and thermal conductivity as well as controlling the proper flow of hydrogen and air and managing water transport.
Imerys has developed a unique carbon additive used in the negative electrode of advanced lead-acid batteries used in cars equipped with start-stop function and recovery of brake energy, and in micro-hybrid cars. The additive combines the hybrid properties of a conductive carbon black and graphite, resulting in good electrical conductivity and improved life cycle and charge acceptance.
Conductive carbon blacks are also key ingredients in plastic and rubber to give electrically conductive properties parts such as electronic device housings, conductive flooring, anti-static films, conveyor belts, fuel hoses, where, electrical and/or thermal conductivity, lubrication, and wear resistance are key parameters.
Backed by a multi-year investment program in research and development as well as production capacity, Imerys is well-positioned to meet the technological needs of the rapid-growing battery and conductive polymer market for many years to come.
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