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Pigments: A Complicated Element Of Dyeing

Definition: Pigment, is a dry insoluble substance, usually pulverized, which when suspended in a liquid vehicle becomes a paint, ink, etc. In other words, a pigment is a material that changes the color of reflected or transmitted light as the result of wavelength-selective absorption. This physical process differs from fluorescence, phosphorescence, and other forms of luminescence, in which a material emits light.

Types of Pigments :

There are today available a number of pigments. In fact after the advent of Synthetic Pigments there has evolved various classes of pigments that are suited to particular types of Industries. Inorganic Pigments- They are of the type mineral-earth but generally are metallic oxides or synthetics. Pigments that are of the type Mineral-earth are very simple and naturally occurring colored substances. The preparation process is also simple and consists of the steps of washing drying, pulverizing and mixing into a formulation. The following table shows the refractive index of some of the very popular class of inorganic pigments. Pigment TiO2 (rutile) TiO2 (Anatase) Antimony Oxide Zinc Oxide Calcium Carbonate Fumed Silica Refractive Index 2.71 2.55 2.20 2.01 1.65 1.45

Examples of inorganic pigments can be materials like lead oxide, cobalt blue, chromium oxide, cadmium yellow, molybdate orange, and nickel titanate. As new environmental laws are very strict about toxicity a few of these heavy metal pigments are no longer in use. Organic Pigments- Organic Pigments are not usually found in nature. That is the reason that a majority of these pigments are chemically synthesized. They contain carbon and comes with relatively low levels of toxicity, not providing any major environmental concern. Raw materials can include coal tar and petroleum distillates that are transformed into insoluble precipitates. Traditionally organic pigments are used as mass colourants. They are popular in plastics, synthetic fibres and as surface coatings-paints and inks. In recent years the organic pigments are used for hi-tech applications that include photo-reprographics, opto-electronic displays and optical data storage.

Categories of Organic Organic pigments are generally categorized into six types :


Monoazo Pigments Diazo Pigments Acid and base dye Pigments Phthalocyanine Pigments Quinacridone Pigments Other polycyclic Pigments

Chemical structure of an Azo Pigment Key features and characteristics of Organic Pigments

Very good stability to solvents, light, heat, and weathering Good tinctorial strength Cost effectiveness Consistency and unique shades Completely non-toxic Very bright, pure, rich colors Organic pigments shows good color strength

Metallic Pigments As these days Metallic Pigments are a very popular category of Pigments, a further classification can be done for the metallic pigments. Metallic pigments, can be of two types aluminum and zinc. Aluminium Pigments: Aluminium pigments are further divided into two categories namely leafing grade and non-leafing grade. The aluminum pigments are produced from aluminium that has purity in the range of 99.3-99.97%. The particle has lamellar shape with 0.1-2 um in thickness and diameter of 0.5-200 um. These pigments founds use in automotive topcoats. Some of the preferred applications of Aluminium Pigments are the following:

As Corrosion protection coats As Reflective paints In Marine paints (covering coats) Roof coatings In Heat-proof and highly heat-resistance paints Chrome effect paints Aerosols

Zinc Pigments: Zinc Pigments come in two forms of powder and dust. Usually the zinc dust is finer as compared to powder and is spherical in shape. The dust also has a light coating of zinc oxide. The following table cites some popular Zinc Pigments along with their applications.

Zinc Pigments Zinc dust Zinc phosphate Zinc oxide

Application Chemical applications Metallurgical applications Active ingredient in domestic cleaning products Agricultural applications Rubber industry Brick kilns Ceramics

Industrial Pigments Though every pigments has industrial application, but for understanding a few popular pigments have been given below that have very wide use. Pearlescent Organic Pigments CLC Pigments Organic vs Inorganic Pigments DPP Pigments Mixed Metal Oxide Pigment Ultramarine Pigments Phosphorescent Effect Pigments Pigment Intermediates Fluorescent Pigments Synthetic Iron Oxide Pigments Inorganic Pigments Titanium Dioxide Carbon Black Natural Iron Oxide Pigments Natural Pigments

Refractive index and Classification of pigments

The whole idea with pigment is to give colour and protect the substrate. Now, to provide color to a material the pigment must create an opacity. Can the pigment impart opacity depends on the characteristic property of refractive index. As we are aware that there is a particular limit to the concentration of pigment particles in a coating determined by the pigment volume concentration (PVC). This is the reason for having pigment particles with a high refractive index. The image here tries to show if the particles do not have high refractive index, there will be insufficient hiding.

Based on such refractive index, pigments can be divided into two categories of hiding and extender pigments. Hiding pigments: These pigments possess generally refractive index values that are greater than 1.5. Examples are titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, lithophone etc. Extender pigments: These pigments have refractive index values that are close to 1.5. Examples include calcium carbonate, silicas, alkali and alkaline earth metal silicates etc.

Selection of Pigment and Binder Stability

If you are considering pigmentation of a system, that is inherently unstable, for example an unstable binder that is to be pigmented with titania, the selection of the pigment is then for both coloration and function. While formulating a colored coating, the pigment's role should be as an UV absorber or reflector. Thus blocking UV transmission through the binder, where degradation takes place.

Performance Criteria for commercial organic pigments The commercial performance of organic pigments is guided by the following capabilities:

Coloristic performance Rheological behaviour Durability Ecological compatibility Tinctorial strength Opacity Resistance to heat

High performance Organic Pigments

A comparatively recent addition they are finding use in speciality applications. They display all round fastness properties in terms of light weather and heat. Some of the important high performance organic pigments along with their molecular structures is given here.

Pigments are used for coloring paint, ink, plastic, fabric, cosmetics, food and other materials. Most pigments used in manufacturing and the visual arts are dry colorants, usually ground into a fine powder. This powder is added to a vehicle (or binder), a relatively neutral or colorless material that suspends the pigment and gives the paint its adhesion. The worldwide market for inorganic, organic and special pigments had a total volume of around 7.4 million tons in 2006. Asia has the highest rate on a quantity basis followed by Europe and North America. In 2006, a turnover of 17.6 billion US$ (13 billion euro) was reached mostly in Europe, followed by North America and Asia. The global demand on pigments was roughly US$ 20.5 billion in 2009, around 1.5-2% up from the previous year. It is predicted to increase in a stable growth rate in the coming years. The worldwide sales will increase to US$ 24.5 billion in 2015, and reach US$ 27.5 billion in 2018. A distinction is usually made between a pigment, which is insoluble in the vehicle (resulting in a suspension), and a dye, which either is itself a liquid or is soluble in its vehicle (resulting in a solution). The term biological pigment is used for all colored substances independent of their solubility. A colorant can be both a pigment and a dye depending on the vehicle it is used in. In some cases, a pigment can be manufactured from a dye by precipitating a soluble dye with a metallic salt. The resulting pigment is called a lake pigment.

Advantage :
Pigment dyeing is a process for coloring textiles which uses ground pigments, rather than a true dye. Strictly speaking, pigment dyeing is not actually dyeing at all, since it only coats the outside of the material, rather than fully penetrating it like a dye would. There are both advantages and disadvantages to pigment dyeing, as is the case with any type of coloring technique. One of the primary advantages of pigment dyeing is its ability to adhere to a wide range of textiles, not just natural fabrics. This is especially important with synthetics or blends, which often cannot be dyed with conventional dyes. In some cases, the fabric may require special treatment for the pigment dye to take, such as an outer layer of resin coating. Some companies make resin dyes specifically for this purpose, with the adhering resin blended with the pigment dye :The reactive and disperse dyes that we use have a much deeper and richer color than the pigments dyes. With pigment dying there is a 2 step process, printing and then dry heat. The color is not as deep and rich and is not washable. With the reactive and disperse dying there is a 5 step process, pre-treatment of the fabric, printing, steaming, washing then drying. Yes this makes the process more time consuming for us but makes the final product better for you. In the end, printing with reactive and disperse dyes as opposed to textile pigments gives you a fabric more vivid in color, washable and softer in hand than other digital printing companies offering pigment dyed fabrics. With a little extra time and care we don't just print a fabric, we print a fabric for life. Disadvantages: 1. Adverse effect due to binder as it changes the texture of fabric as well as longer as lower fastness; 2. Some solvents used in pigment emulsion like kerosene, white spirit causes problems like flammability, odor or pollution.

Difference between pigment and dyes:

As a general rule, protective gear for the face and hands should be worn while working with dyes, in addition to old clothing which is not immensely valued, as the dye can splash and stain. Since pigment dyeing can dye a wide range of materials, it is a good dye for basic starting projects, such as tie-dye on poly-blend shirts. At the same time, a bronzer tanning lotion also can contain natural pigments. Whereas DHA works as part of a chemical reaction, natural pigments dye the skin to the desired darker color. The pigments are natural, so they aren't harmful to the skin.

Though pigment has some adverse effect to nature, still it has some important use in textile. So, pigment be applied with proper care.