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Dyes for Water Based Inkjet Inks

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Colorants for Printing Inks

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We all use inkjet inks in our printers of various hues and application. The most vital part of the inkjet printer is the ink that we use in the cartridge. In fact the determinants of the quality of printing are the type, quality, and the quantity of ink in the cartridge. Inkjet inks are classified into the following four types of categories:

Buying Tips

Obey the rules- First and foremost is to obey the printer manufacturer's advices.
Watch out for compatibility- The association of ink and paper is a complex one and difficult to optimize. It has been often seen that bargain-priced inks or papers leads to results that is not upto the mark.
Working ink-paper pairs- Normally the following combination has been seen to work better:
Smart Choice between pigments and dyes- Remember the choice you make is some sort of a delicate balance between quality of the color and the factor of longevity. Dyes are the way to go if your criteria is good life and and color.

See the color gamut comparison charts in proper perspective- Do not hesitate to ask for direct comparison prints on exactly the type of media that you would be using.

Water based inkjet inks

Water based inkjet inks are very common inks that are used for printing. They are generally used for application in paper. Basically, the water or aqueous ink formulations comprises mainly of a carrier fluid that is able to keep the liquid in a liquid state thus acting as a sort of carrier for the fluid. They do not contain any volatile organic compounds in them and has a very low level of toxicity.

Water-based inkjet inks as a product can be broadly classified into two general categories:
The diagram given below illustrates both the type:-

Colorants for Printing Inks

This diagram makes clear that dyes get fully dissolved in the carrier fluid whereas pigments are fine powders of solid colorants and get dispersed in the color fluid.

To understand the role of dyes and pigments in Water based inkjet inks, first there is a need to look at the basic ingredients of a water based inkjet inks.

Ink component Use wt-%
Colorant It gives the ink it's basic function - absorbing of light of the specific wave length band 2-8
Carrier fluid Suspends or helps in dissolving the colorant 35-80
Surfactant Helps to promote wetting by lowering the surface tension 0.1-2.0
Humectant Helps in inhibiting evaporation(mixes with the carrier fluid) 10-30
Penetrant Helps to penetrate ink in the paper surface 1-5
Dye solubilizer Helps to promote dye solubility in the carrier fluid 2-5
Anticockle additive Checks interaction with paper fibres that can very well lead to paper cockle 20-50

Pigment or Dye: The Great Debate

There has been a great debate regarding which medium is better whether dyes or pigments. Though there is no conclusive evidence regarding the superiority, but both Dyes and Pigment-based inks have their plus and minuses. While water based inkjet inks using dyes has been a traditionally favoured process. But with changing times pigment based inks are getting increasingly accepted as a choice. The following sections give some comparisons between the two:
Dye Based Ink Pigment Based Ink
  • Soluble and stable
  • Vast color pallete
  • Enormous range
  • Bright and intense color
  • Dyes are far efficient in Graphic printing
    • Larger color pallete
    • Bright and vibrant colors
  • Water fastness shows marked improvement
  • Improved light fastness
  • Distinct improvement in Archivability
  • Clarity of Print
  • Pigments good in Outdoor Application
  • Shows tendency for fading
  • Shows limited resistance to water
  • Nozzle crusting
  • Range limited
  • Tendency to clog
  • Expensive
  • Colors not that vibrant and bright
Latest Trend: Manufactures are now opting for combination inks with improved light and water fastness but not at the cost of color intensity.

Colour Index | Dyes | Pigments | Applications | Glossary | FAQ's | Buyers Guide | Global Dyestuff Industry

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