Olmec > Blog > The Carbon Craze: From Aerospace to Everyday Innovations
carbon industries

Have you ever noticed carbon or charcoal cropping up where you might not expect it?

In the past decade, the incorporation of carbon into everyday household items, food, and cosmetics has become a notable trend. ‘Carbon toothpaste,’ ‘charcoal face masks,’ ‘charcoal bread’—these are just a couple of the intriguing places where you might find our miracle material showing up unexpectedly.

Some of these trends might seem like nothing more than a passing fad, but others are indicative of just how versatile carbon truly is.

Carbon Fibre:

A significant contributor to the ubiquity of carbon is its role in carbon fibre—a material that has seen a surge in advertising efforts for higher cost, higher strength solutions for aircraft, missiles, vehicles, and bikes. The first significant commercial use of carbon fibre in mass production occurred in the early 1970s, and its popularity has only grown since.

Initially confined to aerospace and military applications due to its remarkable strength-to-weight ratio, carbon fibre has found widespread use in various components like aircraft parts and missiles. This has not only contributed to improved performance but has also played a crucial role in enhancing fuel efficiency across industries.

The versatility of carbon fibre is not limited to its strength; it extends to its use in various industries, including automotive and consumer goods. From lightweight car components to sports equipment, carbon fibre’s adaptability is reshaping how we approach design and engineering.

Activated Carbon’s Oral Hygiene Benefits:

Activated carbon has also found its place in oral hygiene products, gaining interest for its potential benefits in cleaning and whitening teeth. While the use of charcoal for dental purposes has ancient roots, the modern trend of charcoal toothpaste gained significant traction in the 21st century.

Around 2014-2015, activated charcoal toothpaste started appearing on the market, with many brands promoting its potential benefits, such as teeth whitening and toxin absorption. However, the effectiveness and safety of charcoal toothpaste have been subjects of debate in the dental community. Some argue that the abrasive nature of charcoal could potentially harm tooth enamel, while others believe it can help remove surface stains.

Beyond oral care, carbon has made its way into various products like toothpaste and face wash, driven by factors such as:

The Health Industry:

Another motivation for the increased use of carbon in health and personal care products could be attributed to the booming ‘health’ trend since 2020. The global focus on health, particularly in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, has inspired many individuals to prioritise their well-being like never before.

Microextraction Techniques in Cosmetics:

Carbon’s versatility extends to its role in microextraction techniques in cosmetics, particularly in the form of activated carbon or carbon-based materials. Microextraction techniques are crucial analytical methods employed in cosmetics to extract and analyse various ingredients, ensuring product quality and safety.

Activated carbon, with its high surface area and porosity, is commonly used in microextraction methods such as solid-phase microextraction (SPME) and solid-phase extraction (SPE). Carbon’s contributions in this realm include:


Activated carbon’s ability to adsorb a wide range of compounds onto its surface is exploited in microextraction to selectively capture and concentrate cosmetic ingredients or contaminants from complex matrices.


Carbon’s selectivity can be tailored by modifying its surface, allowing it to target specific classes of compounds. This selectivity is crucial for isolating particular cosmetic ingredients for analysis.


The high surface area of activated carbon enhances extraction efficiency, a vital aspect for detecting and quantifying low-concentration ingredients.

Therefore, carbon-based materials serve as versatile tools in microextraction techniques for cosmetics, aiding in the precise and efficient analysis of cosmetic ingredients.

Nanotechnology in Cosmetics:

The trend towards nanotechnology in cosmetics, incorporating carbon-based materials, is another fascinating avenue. This aligns with a broader technological shift in various industries.

The Rise of Carbon in Filtration Systems:

One unconventional yet impactful use of carbon is in advanced filtration systems. Activated carbon’s exceptional adsorption capabilities make it ideal for use in air and water purification. The porous structure of activated carbon traps impurities, chemicals, and odours, contributing to cleaner and safer environments.

The use of carbon in filtration extends beyond traditional applications, finding its way into cutting-edge technologies for purifying air and water in both industrial and domestic settings.

Carbon in Sports Equipment:

The versatility of carbon extends to the realm of sports equipment. From tennis rackets to bicycles, carbon fibre-reinforced materials have become synonymous with high-performance gear. The use of carbon composites in sports equipment offers a winning combination of strength, durability, and lightness, enhancing athletes’ performance across various disciplines.

In the world of professional sports, carbon has revolutionised equipment design. It’s not just about making gear lighter but also about providing optimal stiffness and responsiveness. This application showcases how carbon, once reserved for aerospace and military purposes, has seamlessly integrated into the world of sports.

Carbon in Fashion:

Fashion meets function in the integration of carbon materials. Designers are increasingly exploring the use of carbon fibres and composites in clothing and accessories. Carbon-infused fabrics offer benefits such as enhanced durability, flexibility, and even technological integration. Imagine clothing

that not only looks stylish but also incorporates carbon elements for improved performance.

Whether it’s a carbon fibre-infused jacket or accessories with carbon-inspired designs, the fashion industry is embracing the unique properties of carbon to push the boundaries of innovation. This trend not only caters to fashion-forward consumers but also highlights the role of carbon beyond traditional applications.

The interconnected Carbon and Graphite Market:

The growth of the carbon and graphite product market underscores the interconnectedness of these materials across sectors. The ever-changing and always fascinating market for carbon is a testament to the continuous innovation and applications of this remarkable element.

As we observe carbon weaving its way into unexpected corners of our lives—be it in oral care, cosmetics, high-tech aerospace applications, sports equipment, or fashion—we are witnessing not just a trend but a testament to the extraordinary versatility and adaptability of this essential element. From ancient uses in tooth cleaning to cutting-edge applications in diverse industries, carbon’s journey is a narrative of innovation and progress.

In conclusion, whether it’s strengthening aircraft wings, brightening smiles, ensuring the purity of cosmetics, purifying air and water, enhancing sports performance, or pushing the boundaries of fashion, carbon’s presence is pervasive. Its impact on diverse industries is both fascinating and enduring. As technology advances and industries evolve, we can only anticipate more ingenious applications of carbon, making it a material that truly stands the test of time.

With its ancient roots and futuristic applications, carbon continues to prove that its utility knows no bounds.

Olmec Advanced Materials Ltd - The UK’s biggest Supplier of Carbon and Graphite