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No letup in demand for carbon black

The world market for specialty carbon black used in high-end, non-rubber applications, is forecast to grow by 6.5%/yr to $1.7 billion in 2010, according to a recently published market research report, World Specialty Black, by Notch Consulting (Amherst, MA). Specialty black volumes are forecast to reach 945,000 tonnes in 2010.

As of 2004, these grades accounted for 9% of carbon black volumes but nearly 21% of market value. Pricing averaged $1.58/kg last year, compared to $.71/kg for the total commodity carbon black market. These specialty grades encompass all nonrubber grades produced as furnace blacks, as well as those manufactured by thermal-, acetylene-, lamp-, gas-, and bone-black technologies.

In 2004, the major markets for specialty grades were plastics compounding (making up 50% of the market); inks and toners (23%); and paints and coatings (6%). They are also used in niche markets (making up the remaining 21%) such as batteries, adhesives and sealants, refractories, graphite, paper, and friction materials. Notch Consulting says the vast majority are used as pigment, to provide conductivity, as well as weathering and UV-resistance properties. -Robert Colvin; [email protected]

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