Carbon black is an amorphous carbon. Light, loose and extremely fine black powder with a very large surface area, ranging from 10 to 3000 square meters per gram, it is the product of incomplete combustion or thermal decomposition of carbonaceous substances (coal, natural gas, heavy oil, fuel oil, etc.) under conditions of insufficient air. Due to the insufficient combustion of organic matter, the hydrogen and oxygen elements in it are converted into water, while the insufficient combustion of carbon will break away from the molecules and form carbon black.

China is one of the first countries in the world to produce carbon black. In ancient times, people burned animal and vegetable oils and pine branches to collect black ash from the smoke and used them to make ink and black paint. This kind of black ash, called "soak", is the earliest carbon black.

In 1821, people used natural gas as a raw material to produce carbon black for the first time in North America. Large areas of oil and gas fields have been exploited one after another. The continuous supply of raw materials promoted the production of carbon black from manual operation into the era of large-scale industrialization.

Although carbon is one of the main components of organic chemistry, however, according to the German standard "Colorants. Classification by chromaticity and chemical characteristics" DIN 55944, carbon black is still classified as an inorganic pigment.