Electrical conductivity is important in many rubber and plastic compounds including antistatic applications, wire and cable sheathing, and shielding against electromagnetic interference (EMI). Elastomers and plastics are insulators (dielectrics) to which conductivity is imparted by addition of a finely divided or colloidal filler of high intrinsic conductivity, such as carbon black. Over the years, there has developed a sizable body of information regarding measurement of conductivity, and the factors which affect it in such compounds or composites. With regard to the physical processes involved in the conduction of electricity, various mechanisms have been proposed by various authors. It appears that many physical processes can be involved and that the dominant process depends upon the composition of the composite and the conditions of measurement. The purpose of this review is to survey the proposed mechanisms of conduction in composites of carbon black and nonconductive polymers, taking special note of recent theoretical advances, and to examine the effects of the properties of the carbon black and the composition of the composite.

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