Ink

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Ink is a liquid that contains pigments and/or dyes and is used to color a surface to produce an image, text, or design. Ink is used for drawing and/or writing with a pen, brush, or quill. Thicker inks, in paste form, are used extensively in letterpress and lithographic printing.

Ink can be a complex medium, composed of solvents, pigments, dyes, resins, lubricants, solubilizers, surfactants, particulate matter, fluorescers, and other materials. The components of inks serve many purposes; the ink’s carrier, colorants, and other additives control flow and thickness of the ink and its appearance when dry.

Contents

Types

Ink formulas vary, but commonly involve four components:

  • Colorants
  • Vehicles (binders)
  • Additives
  • Carrier substances

Inks generally fall into four classes[1]:

  • Aqueous
  • Liquid
  • Paste
  • Powder

Colorants

Pigment inks are used more frequently than dyes because they are more color-fast, but they are also more expensive, less consistent in color, and have less of a color range than dyes.[1]

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