Ink Pigments – What You Need to Know
Most color printing inks use a mixture of linseed oil or a petroleum distillate as the solvent (called a vehicle) combined with organic pigments. These are usually salts of multiring nitrogen-containing compounds (dyes).
Titanium dioxide is the most commonly used white pigment, with rutile and anatase providing the highest opacity. It is also thermally stable and has good light fastness.
The colors used in pigment inks are vibrant and acid-free, perfect for card making and mixed media art projects. Ink pigments work well with stamping, ink blending, heat embossing, stenciling and much more! These inks are archival, so your handmade cards will last a long time without fading or discoloring.
Pigment ink is made with water, pigment, resin and other additives to create a durable, high-quality ink. It is the preferred ink for printing labels, textiles and other specialty applications where durability is critical.
Essentially, pigment ink is made from finely ground colored powders that are suspended in the liquid base of the ink. A printing ink chemist is primarily interested in creating a stable dispersion of these particles that do not settle into clumps. The particle size is a key factor that determines the intensity of color.
Most pigments used in ink are organic, but there are some inorganic pigments as well. The earliest classes of organic pigments are the azo pigments (Hansa yellow, dirylide yellows, dinitraniline oranges and phthalocyanines). The more recent classes include copper phthalocyanines, cobalt blues and viridian greens. Most black inks are made with carbon black (a coal-based pigment) rather than the more toxic rutile and molybdenum oxides.
Many manufacturers premix pigments to save time, but most of the time a single color is composed of multiple pigments. This is why it is important to analyze the color index name, not just the manufacturer’s name, when mixing your own inks. You will find the color index names for each of the inks produced by Akua on our Product Guide and on each of the individual ink bottles. By analyzing the color index name you can determine which pigments are used in each of our inks and mix your own inks with confidence. For example, the ink labeled “Van Dyke Brown” contains three different pigments. This means that when you use this ink for your mixed media project it will be a true Brown, not just some shade of red or blue. You can also make sure that your mixes are safe by avoiding the more hazardous inorganic pigments such as chrome yellows, molybdenum oranges and cadmium reds.
Among all pigment properties, opacity is the most important one to consider when choosing an ink. This refers to the amount of light that is prevented from passing through the ink, obscuring or blotting out the printing beneath it. Opacity increases as the particle size of the pigment decreases, but there is a point beyond which the ability to scatter light to the point that it becomes obstructive begins to decrease. As a result, it is crucial to select the correct type of ink for your specific print project.
All pigments whether natural or industrially created start out as a powder. They are then combined with a binder to allow them to be applied to a surface. Typically, the binders used in painting are oil-based, such as burnt linseed or walnut oil. These binders are also known as “pigment oils”. Linseed oil has a refractive index of 1.479, which means that it allows light to pass through without scattering it. Other oil-based binders have higher refractive indices, such as zinc oxide, which makes them appear opaque.
Pigment inks are generally considered to be more durable than dye-based inks, but this is not necessarily the case. It depends on the quality of the ink and how well it is fixed. Inks that are not properly fixed, even with high-quality pigments, will fade over time. This is because the ink is not absorbed into the paper and will be exposed to sunlight.
While fading is inevitable over time, it is possible to prevent the process by applying Ink Pigments heat and using a UV protective spray on your work. Using archival inks will also help keep your prints protected.
For example, VersaColor ink contains glycerin, which helps the ink retain moisture and slows its fading. This is an excellent choice for paper crafting projects because it provides a vibrant color and resists fading for a long time. Alternatively, use an archival chalk pigment ink pad for a beautiful look on vellum or other smooth surfaces. This water-based ink is also ideal for stamping and embossing. It is non-toxic, acid free and archival.
The gloss of a pigment ink is related to the surface roughness of the printed object. The smoother the surface, the more light is reflected and the higher the gloss. There are Ink Pigments surfactants that can help reduce the roughness and enhance gloss. The 2,5,8,11-tetraethyl-6,dodecyn-5,8-diol ethoxylate surfactant in particular is a great option for pigment inks. It significantly reduces static and dynamic surface tension while increasing photo gloss and color gamut on swellable, porous glossy photo media.
Pigment inks have a different base than dye inks and are fade-resistant over time, which makes them perfect for scrapbooking and other paper crafts. They can also be used to create watercolors or other water-based mediums. They dry slower than water-based dye inks, making them more suitable for embossing. They’re acid-free, so they don’t bleed on other surfaces and are a good choice for stamping on dark card stock.
Distress Inks are a type of water-based dye ink that have a very unique set of properties that make them different from other water-based dye inks. They’re archival, which means they will last a long time and are safe to use on acid-free papers. They’re also great for multiple stamping techniques, blending and even heat embossing. They dry slowly so they’re good for embossing on a damp surface, and they can be mixed with other colors or other water-based mediums to produce new effects.
235-g/m2 everyday pigment ink glossy photo paper features a microporous surface for maximum ink absorption for vibrant colors, fast dry time and superior fade resistance. It’s optimized for HP Z-series and Designjet printers but is compatible with other non-HP pigment inks. It’s made in the USA and is guaranteed to meet Hewlett-Packard’s published specifications, be free of manufacturing flaws and defects and to perform as described when used with HP large-format inks. This product is backed by Hewlett-Packard’s warranty for up to three years, including one year of advanced replacement coverage.
The durability of an ink is influenced by the strength of the resins and by how long the pigments are able to remain dispersed. Inks that contain high amounts of resin and low concentrations of pigment tend to have a higher durability than inks that are less bindered. In addition, the quality of the pigment used in an ink is important.
Early black writing inks were suspensions of carbon, lampblack for example, in water stabilised with natural gum or egg albumen. Modern ink formulations are much more complex and a host of additives provide a wide range of functions. Ink vehicle ingredients include pH modifiers to control acidity/alkalinity, humectants to retard premature drying, polymeric resins to impart binding and allied properties, defoamer or antifoaming agents to regulate foam efficiency, wetting agents such as surfactants which lower the surface tension of aqueous ink, biocides to inhibit fungal and bacterial fouling and thickeners or rheology modifiers to control ink viscosity.
Pigment inks are more durable than dye inks because the pigment particles sit on top of the paper rather than being absorbed into the fibres like dyes. This means that they are less vulnerable to external factors like environmental gases and ultraviolet rays from sunlight which can cause dye ink to fade over time. In addition, pigment inks are more resistant to smudging than dye inks.
While pigment inks offer great durability, they can be more expensive than dye-based inks. However, the price difference is worth it for a professional looking print job that will stand up to normal wear and tear.
If you are considering purchasing a new printer, make sure that it will accommodate the ink type that you plan to use. Otherwise, you could risk damaging the machine and/or causing costly damage to your prints. INK T.S is committed to using only the highest quality raw materials and rigorous testing of all its products. Every batch of ink is tested on a wide variety of frequently used substrates and all results are published on the INK T.S website for customer confidence.