Carbon black


Made in

Circular 215 Ink 19 Paint 19 Recycled 121 Air pollution 3

Carbon black

Photos: Tino Seubert

The Colour Of Air

'Carbon black' is the main component of fine Particulate Matter (PM), produced by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels across homes, industry and transport. As smog, it obscures visibility and is the main cause of air pollution.

Despite the introduction of diesel filters in the Global North decades ago, our polluted environments still remain a consistent problem. People living near busy streets, pedestrians and cyclists all suffer from smog pollution, which increases the risks of cancer, asthma and heart disease.

Drawing on the idea from the ancient Egyptians, who used carbon black from candles to produce ink; The Colour Of Air filters PM from car exhausts to produce (PM-LEAD) for pencils, and (PM-K) ink for screen printing posters, as well as permanent dying an outdoor sports outfit (PM-DYE). The smog becomes wearable, touchable and visible to people who, unknowingly, inhale it every day.

Additional information

The carbon black was collected by emptying ceramic exhaust filters taken directly from diesel cars. The collected material was then treated and bound in different ways:
- printing ink to screen print posters
- with wax and clay, which was baked after to create a solid material for the pencil lead
- in a chemical used for dying fabrics, which was later applied to the garments with a heat press

Information submitted by the maker and edited by the Future Materials Bank.


Particulate matter filtered from diesel exhausts

Physical samples

0092-1, 0092-2
Accessible to visitors of the Future Materials Lab