Color Printing Inks
Inks made from dyes vs. from pigments have different advantages and disadvantages and are ideal for different types of printing jobs.
Fundamentally, there are two different types of substances that provide an ink’s color, and they are classified based on their solubility in water. Dyes are substances that are soluble in water, whereas compounds that are insoluble in water are referred to as pigments. Either type of coloring can be used in routine office and home printing, but they each have advantages and disadvantages.
Dye-based inks have traditionally been the inks used for most digital printers because their ease of manufacture makes them less expensive than pigment-based inks. Optical brighteners added to the dyes also produce vivid colors resulting in brighter images. Unfortunately, the dyes are not strongly UV-resistant, so the brilliant colors of the original prints may fade over time. They are also slower to dry, so text in particular has a tendency to become blurry.
The colorant in pigment-based inks is a polymer resin. Since pigments are not soluble in water, the materials must be crushed into fine particles, which are then suspended in water for ink jet printing. The resulting printed product has good UV-resistance and its rapid-drying capacity produces crisp text, but the colors are less vibrant than those produced by dye-based inks. Pigment-based inks tend to clump together when used in cartridges, so they are only used in desktop inkjet printers if extra software is incorporated into the machine to compensate for this problem. Pigment-based inks tend to be more expensive than dye-based inks.
Although in low-end desktop printers, all of the ink is the less expensive dye-based type, in higher-end desktop printers, there is one cartridge containing black pigment-based ink to produce crisp UV- and water-resistant text. The second cartridge contains dye-based colored inks to produce brilliantly colored photos and graphics. In this way, printer manufacturers give us the best of both worlds.
For more information about printer inks, see http://www.castleink.com/_a-printer-inks.html