Carbon Black Manufacturing Principles of the Carbon Black Formation

Carbon black is formed in the gas phase by the thermal decomposition of hydrocarbons. These can come from a variety of sources depending on availability and economics. Carbon black feedstock can be of carbochemical origin, such as coal tar oil, anthracene oil (creosote), soft pitch, coal tar, and mixtures thereof or can be of petrochemical origin such as decant oil, aromatic crude oil concentrates, steam cracker, or cat cracker oils. The principle process can be thought of the following steps: (i) feedstock heating and vaporization, (ii) thermal decomposition of the hydrocarbon into small carbon fragments and hydrogen, and (iii) growth of these fragments into the carbon black particles and aggregates with further hydrogen formation. While there are numerous process variants, they can be divided into two categories according to the absence or presence of oxygen in the thermal decomposition reaction and how the energy required for the heating of the feedstock and the endothermic decomposition of hydrocarbon is generated (Vohler et al. 1977; Dannenberg 1978; Lyon 1985; Kuhner and Voll 1993; Wang et al. 2004):

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