The below diagram show how CB chactedristics vary for different grades. E.g. the level of reinforcement is incresinf from left to right (with lowering the "hundred" number in the gade name. The market price is increasing from left to right, but the dependency of the CB price on oil price is decreasing.

Note: Notch Consulting, Inc. was used as a main source of the market data for this page. Other numbers were obtained from publicly available sources. However, some missing numbers were extrapolated and estimated based on the available data. Therefore, please treat all numbers provided above as just estimations for illustration purposes only. They provide the order of magnitude but may not be exact or accurate. Please do not base your investments decisions on these numbers.

Carbon Black Usage by Grade

Carbon Black (CB) is a filler that is added to the base polymers (i.e. rubber or plastic) to achieve desirable end product qualities, such as strength and abrasiveness (for tires), conductivity (for cable coating), color properties (for inks and paints), etc.

Among the many important carbon black properties (see The Carbon Black Primer paper), the two most important ones are: Surface Area (measured with BET test as m2/g) and Structure (measured with Oil Absorption test as ml/100g). Surface Area characterizes the particle size, and Structure characterizes the complexity of the aggregate organization.

Internatiional standard organization ASTM ( is using the Surface Area number to designate a given CB to a grade. The Structure number is used to further distinguish CB types within each grade. Most common seven grades belong to a category of Furnance CB (see below diagram) which is produced from oil. Furnace CBs can be broken down in to two subcategories: carcas grade and tread grade CBs. The former are N7XX, N6XX, N5XX and N4XX, which provide good mechanical reenforcement when mixed with rubber. The latter are N3XX, N2XX and N1XX, which provide even better mechanical reenforcement when mixed with rubber.

Thermal CB, represented by grades N9XX and N8XX, is produced from gas at high temperatures and are exeptionally pure, however, their mechanical reenforcement is lower than in the case of furnace CB. 

A small portion of Furnace CB, as well as Acetilene and some other CB is used to produce specialty CB.

The below diagram shows the usage of different carbon black grades.

Carbon Black Introduction