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ADDITIVES | CARBON BLACK


project are important components of Orion’s sustainability efforts.” He says that while most all carbon blacks impart conductivity in plastics, a key requirement for HV and EV applications is to enable conductivity while retaining good compound mechanical properties. “Meeting this requires sound carbon black selection and application development.”


Beyond percolation


Higher black dosage enables lower resistivity, but adversely affects compound mechanical properties. In addition, formulators have to deal with the issue of percolation. The graph shows how conductivity in a compound can change with carbon black loading. The percolation curve shown in Figure 1 is typical for conductive carbon blacks. It shows that to achieve stable compound resistivity it is prudent to dose the conductive carbon black to the flat part of the curve beyond the critical area where small changes in loading can have disproportionate effects on conductivity. Although other properties affect compound


resistivity, carbon black surface area, structure, and porosity drive resistivity at the target carbon black dosage (see Table 1).


“Many conductive black compounders prefer


super-conductive blacks, such as Printex XE2, because of the low resistivity it imparts at low dosage,” says Vasanthakumar Narayanan, Orion Technical Market Manager, Polymers, Americas. “We work with customers to ensure conductivity and mechanical properties are in balance.” Within the HV and EV applications (and in future autonomous vehicles), the density of electronic components and potential EMI and RFI interference has created strong demand for conductive thermoplastics. To give some idea of the scale of this issue, he says humans can perceive a 3000V static discharge while electronic vehicle components can be damaged by a 100V discharge. “For these electrostatic discharge applications, Orion’s Printex Kappa 70, compounded at 15-20% by weight in polypropylene, will provide desirable balance of low resistivity and mechanical property retention,”


Resistivity (ohm-cm) MFR (g/10 min) Surface area (m2 OAN (mL/100 g)


/g) Source: Orion Engineered Carbon 26 COMPOUNDING WORLD | November 2020 www.compoundingworld.com


Printex Kappa 70 990 31


250 170


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Table 2: Carbon black surface area and Oil Absorption Number (OAN) versus MFR and resistivity for various carbon black grades Sample – 14%


Y200 acetylene black 2.16x106 29.6 68


283


HiBlack 40B2 Printex XE2 (at 10%) 1.0x1015 34.6 112 150


<100 4.0


1000 420


Figure 1: Chart showing how resistivity of a conductive polymer compound drops rapidly around the percolation point, demonstrating the need for accurate dosing control Source: Orion Engineered Carbons


Narayan says. “EMI/RFI applications require much lower resistivity, so Printex XE2 is more preferred, at 8-10% in the polymer.”


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