The Effect of Thermal Processing in Vacuum on the Water Adsorption Characteristics of Carbon Black


Commercially available carbon black contains oxygen complexes on its surface that affect the surface properties of the carbon. Water adsorption on the surface of carbon black is influenced by the amount and type of oxygen complexes present. When carbon black is heated in vacuum at sufficiently high temperatures, removal of the oxygen complexes occurs and the surface of the carbon particles is modified. The amount of water adsorbed by the carbon is dependent on the vacuum heat treatment temperature. As the heat treatment temperature increases, water adsorption on the carbon decreases. p]Commercially available electrically conductive carbon black adsorbs from 1.25% to 2.50% water when exposed to 50% relative humidity for 24 hours at 25°C. This variation in water adsorption is due to a difference in the amount of oxygen complexes on the surface of the carbon. The carbon with more oxygen complexes adsorbs more water. However, when this carbon black is heat treated at 1200°C for 4 hours in a vacuum of 1 × 10−5 torr or better, the water adsorbed by the carbon is 0.4% when exposed to 50% relative humidity. Data showing the dependence of water adsorption on vacuum thermal processing are presented and discussed.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1.

    Carbon Blacks For Printing Inks, Technical Report S-127 (Cabot Corporation, Billerica, MA1987).

  2. 2.

    R.C. Bansal and T. L. Dhami, Carbon15, 157 (1977).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    B.R. Puri and S.K. Shanna, J. Indian Chem. Soc.48(7), 629–635 (1971).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    C. Pierce, R.N. Smith, J.W. Wiley, and H. Cordes, J. American Chemical Society73, 4551 (1951).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    A.V. Kiselev and N.V. Kovaleva, Izvest Akad. Nauk. S.S.S.R., Otd. Khimn Nauk, 955 (transl.) (1959).

  6. 6.

    W.D. Schaeffer, W.R. Smith, and M.H. Polley, Industrial and Engineering Chemistry45(8), 1721 (1953).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    B.R. Puri and R.C. Bansal, Carbon1, 457 (1964).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    S. Weller and T.F. Young, J. American Chemical Society70, 4155 (1948).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    E.S. Sims (Cabot Corporation), (private communication).

  10. 10.

    B.R. Puri and R.C. Bansal, Carbon3, 533 (1966).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    B.R. Puri and R.C. Bansal, Carbon1, 451 (1964).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


The authors are grateful for the technical assistance given by Dennis Mongan of Johnson Controls, Inc. in obtaining the X-ray diffraction data presented in this paper.

Author information



Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Kurt D. Schachner or Paul E. Thoma.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Schachner, K.D., Thoma, P.E. The Effect of Thermal Processing in Vacuum on the Water Adsorption Characteristics of Carbon Black. MRS Online Proceedings Library 270, 67–72 (1992).

Download citation