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What Exactly Is 'ph'?

ph diamine waterman iron gall mixing neutral ink

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25 replies to this topic

#1 FoszFay

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 11:35

Hey all, just a few questions:

What exactly is 'pH'? To my knowledge it is how acidic an ink is or something?

What does it mean if an ink is 'pH neutral'?

How does the 'pH' level affect my FP?

What is the difference between Iron-Gall and Dye-Based inks' 'pH' levels?

And lastly; Can IG inks be mixed with standard (dye-based) inks, just something like Diamine or Waterman? I've seen R&K inks can, but I've also seen many posts about Diamine's Registrar's turning cloggy, even if mixed with less than a drop of other ink.

Sorry for the "few" questions, but I am still quite a novice.

Thanks,
Tom.

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#2 Lord Epic

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 11:42

Yes pH refers to the acidity of the ink.

 

pH neutral means the pH level is around 7 (meaning not acidic nor alkaline)

 

I haven't heard of pH levels hurting modern pens too much, but I'm not too sure of vintage pens (or sacs).

 

Iron gall is made up of acid and thus it tends to have a lower pH level than dye based, but this is not always true of course!

 

IG inks can be mixed, but of course, at your own risk. Do it in a small vial first?

 

Hope I helped (somewhat)

 

 

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#3 FoszFay

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 11:59

Yes pH refers to the acidity of the ink.
 
pH neutral means the pH level is around 7 (meaning not acidic nor alkaline)

So are all (standard) inks around the same pH level? Or do company's or individual ink colours vary significantly?

Tom.

#4 Lord Epic

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 12:21

So are all (standard) inks around the same pH level? Or do company's or individual ink colours vary significantly?

Tom.

 

Nope, each company have different pH levels for ink. Lemme dig out a link for ya.... 

 

 

There we go.

 

 

http://www.marcuslin...d-ph-levels.htm

 

 

 

~Epic


Letter Writers Alliance
 
A sincere man am I
From the land where palm trees grow,
And I want before I die
My soul's verses to bestow.
 
All those moments will be lost in time.
Like tears in rain.
Time to die.

 


#5 FoszFay

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 12:36

 
Nope, each company have different pH levels for ink. Lemme dig out a link for ya.... 
 
 
There we go.
 
 
http://www.marcuslin...d-ph-levels.htm
 
 
 
~Epic

Thanks! So I guess both extremes have a higher possibility to harm pens?

Tom.

#6 Morbus Curiositas

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 12:58

pH stands for Potantia Hydrogenii.

 

It basically is a scale to determine the acidity/or alkine level of a substance. It ranges from 0-14 where, as mentioned abov 7 is neutral. The skin for example is about ph 5,5 therefore lightly acid. The gastiric fluid is out ph 3 normally.

 

The ph values of ink vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. an example of De Atramentis... their Document Inks (permanent) are pH 7 also neutral

 

Old Iron gall inks could be a problem for Fountain Pens the pH of IG inks ranges from 2 till 5... The acidity couldeat away paper.It could also damage the nibs TTherefor  in the early days I believe the nibs where made of gold.

 

There is a lot of discussion on the safety of IG inks in Fontain Pens... Basically one could say that an acid ink like IG is not suited for Fountain Pens....

 

Now there is the discussion that the newer inks are safe for Fountain Pens.... Some members come up wiht the data of scinettific studies stating that it issafe now. One should know however that the value of one or more studies.... Is not always telling the truth in it self as there are other studies who state the contrary.... Fact is that a lot of paper from the Middle  ages was eaten awway by the IG INk...

 

 

Well think what you think. I personally think there are so many ink manufacturers wiht such a vast array of ink (colours).... That one should  be able to find inks of his or hers liking wihtout being it an acid (IG) ink....

 

I guess Pelikan did not change the recipe of his good old 4001 inks just for the fun of it.

 

http://en.m.wikipedi...i/Iron_gall_ink

 

Most of the inks today do not have a lower (more acid) level... Hence making them safe for Fountain Pens....

 

Mixing inks.... 

Herbin explicitely warns you not to mix their inks. This can be because the Ph level in varies from ink to ink.I am notsure here though butmaybe Herbin can say anything about this.... Thee inks  are awesome. As far as I understand one should not mix Ink  with different pH levels...

 

One can safely mix inks with the same pH levels though... You can mix all De Atramentis Standard ink. But you cannot mix standard inks with their Document or IG inks...

 

How that is with other brands I do not know.... But their is an Ink recipe forum where members make mixes of a lot of inks.... I guess that can tell you something about the PH level and mixing possibilities of the other beautiful inks on the market.

 

Sorry I am not an Ink expert nora chemist.... But i hope this was informative

 

Regards

Peter


Das leben ist wie ein Perpetuum Mobile mit ein Mangel..... Immer im Bewegung jedoch nicht unendlich. (life is like a troubled Perpetuum Mobile ever moving but not for ever)

Tricked throughout the centuries...

For centuries people had been tricked by kings & "religion-alism"

In the 20th century people got tricked by communism

Today people get tricked by (neo)capitalism  :) 


#7 tinysnail

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 13:01

With extreme ink pH changes from one ink to another, you may have to be careful about washing your pen out really well between inks. There's a higher chance of some weird reaction if you go from a highly basic ink to a highly acidic ink than if you stay around the same pH level, say.

Water has a pH of 7. That's neutral. Nathan Tardif, of Noodler's ink, keeps his ink (with the exception of the Baystate line) around that neutral pH. He has an interesting post about it here: http://noodlersink.com/ph-test/

Since you can't really know the pH of an ink unless someone tests it and posts the results here, your best bet is honestly just to clean your pens well between ink changes and perform proper maintenance over time.

PS I am assuming you were mostly asking about what pH is in relation to fountain pen inks. Not in terms of actual chemistry. It stands for "potential hydrogen," though. probably? The history for that is shaky. It's a measure of hydrogen ions in a solution, or more accurately and to quote Wikipedia, the "decimal logarithm of the reciprocal of the hydrogen ion activity." I'm no chemist, but I tutor a lot of high school math, and pH questions come up alllll the time in the unit on logarithms and exponential functions :)

#8 tinysnail

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 13:17

It may also be worth mentioning that, due to the math behind the pH scale, a difference of "1" on a pH scale corresponds to a 10x jump in acidity or alkalinity. An ink with a pH of 4 is 100 times more acidic than an ink with a pH of 6.



#9 FoszFay

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 13:20

It may also be worth mentioning that, due to the math behind the pH scale, a difference of "1" on a pH scale corresponds to a 10x jump in acidity or alkalinity. An ink with a pH of 4 is 100 times more acidic than an ink with a pH of 6.

Thanks, I was waiting for someone to clear this up, I didn't want to ask another question, haha.

Tom.

#10 FoszFay

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 13:25

pH stands for Potantia Hydrogenii.
 
It basically is a scale to determine the acidity/or alkine level of a substance. It ranges from 0-14 where, as mentioned abov 7 is neutral. The skin for example is about ph 5,5 therefore lightly acid. The gastiric fluid is out ph 3 normally.
 
The ph values of ink vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. an example of De Atramentis... their Document Inks (permanent) are pH 7 also neutral
 
Old Iron gall inks could be a problem for Fountain Pens the pH of IG inks ranges from 2 till 5... The acidity couldeat away paper.It could also damage the nibs TTherefor  in the early days I believe the nibs where made of gold.
 
There is a lot of discussion on the safety of IG inks in Fontain Pens... Basically one could say that an acid ink like IG is not suited for Fountain Pens....
 
Now there is the discussion that the newer inks are safe for Fountain Pens.... Some members come up wiht the data of scinettific studies stating that it issafe now. One should know however that the value of one or more studies.... Is not always telling the truth in it self as there are other studies who state the contrary.... Fact is that a lot of paper from the Middle  ages was eaten awway by the IG INk...
 
 
Well think what you think. I personally think there are so many ink manufacturers wiht such a vast array of ink (colours).... That one should  be able to find inks of his or hers liking wihtout being it an acid (IG) ink....
 
I guess Pelikan did not change the recipe of his good old 4001 inks just for the fun of it.
 
http://en.m.wikipedi...i/Iron_gall_ink
 
Most of the inks today do not have a lower (more acid) level... Hence making them safe for Fountain Pens....
 
Mixing inks.... 
Herbin explicitely warns you not to mix their inks. This can be because the Ph level in varies from ink to ink.I am notsure here though butmaybe Herbin can say anything about this.... Thee inks  are awesome. As far as I understand one should not mix Ink  with different pH levels...
 
One can safely mix inks with the same pH levels though... You can mix all De Atramentis Standard ink. But you cannot mix standard inks with their Document or IG inks...
 
How that is with other brands I do not know.... But their is an Ink recipe forum where members make mixes of a lot of inks.... I guess that can tell you something about the PH level and mixing possibilities of the other beautiful inks on the market.
 
Sorry I am not an Ink expert nora chemist.... But i hope this was informative
 
Regards
Peter

You said that most IG inks range from about 2-5, meaning they are acidic and eat away paper, after a very long time. Later, you state that most modern inks are low pH, so are these just as acidic as IG inks? Will they eat away paper in 500 years?

Edit - you also said it can damage nibs. So can standard FP ink still damage modern nibs today also?

Tom.

Edited by FoszFay, 25 September 2014 - 13:27.


#11 Morbus Curiositas

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 13:31

Sorry I meant low in acid and about neutral PH...

Only IG and i guess Baystate blue (concerning) tinysnail's reply arelower in ph...

In the link I posted it states that IG inks do not always have to corrode the paper... but one schould be aware of the possivle symptoms and do not ignore them

Das leben ist wie ein Perpetuum Mobile mit ein Mangel..... Immer im Bewegung jedoch nicht unendlich. (life is like a troubled Perpetuum Mobile ever moving but not for ever)

Tricked throughout the centuries...

For centuries people had been tricked by kings & "religion-alism"

In the 20th century people got tricked by communism

Today people get tricked by (neo)capitalism  :) 


#12 FoszFay

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 13:34

Sorry I meant low in acid and about neutral PH...

Only IG and i guess Baystate blue (concerning) tinysnail's reply arelower in ph...

In the link I posted it states that IG inks do not always have to corrode the paper... but one schould be aware of the possivle symptoms and do not ignore them

Alrighty, thanks. I've read that Wiki page a few times... I don't know if it helped or made things worse, haha.

Tom.

#13 tinysnail

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 13:43

Sorry I meant low in acid and about neutral PH...

Only IG and i guess Baystate blue (concerning) tinysnail's reply arelower in ph...

In the link I posted it states that IG inks do not always have to corrode the paper... but one schould be aware of the possivle symptoms and do not ignore them

 Baystate blue is alkaline = high pH.



#14 Morbus Curiositas

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 13:48

Alrighty, thanks. I've read that Wiki page a few times... I don't know if it helped or made things worse, haha.

Tom.

Yes it is bloody confusing...

 

That noodlers Ink is very clear about acid inks. So is the richard binder website.

 

Funnily Nathan Tardiff said the same as Dr Jansen of De atramentis... there are a lot  of self proclaimed experts.... Both Nathan and Dr Jansen say the same..... Do NOT use acid inks in Fountain Pens....

 

Why should you?..... Have you  seen the array of inks both the Great Noodlers and De atramentis offer... More than enough choice....

 

Noodler has the bulletproof Ph Neutral inks and De Atramentis has about 8 colour of bombproof inks.... Wiht the CMYK colour  one can basically mix your own permanetn colour if you need a permanent ink...

 

Down side I live in the EU and You  live in australia or New Zealand..... Shipping costs are horrible.... De atramentis is not a problem.. I live in the EU an Larry Post ships to New Zealand and australia for $2,75 I believe...

 

But I want NOODLER's too :D


Das leben ist wie ein Perpetuum Mobile mit ein Mangel..... Immer im Bewegung jedoch nicht unendlich. (life is like a troubled Perpetuum Mobile ever moving but not for ever)

Tricked throughout the centuries...

For centuries people had been tricked by kings & "religion-alism"

In the 20th century people got tricked by communism

Today people get tricked by (neo)capitalism  :) 


#15 Morbus Curiositas

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 13:50

 Baystate blue is alkaline = high pH.

So very cool no acid in there.... why does Richard Binder warns about this ink... Not to use them in I believe platinum pens....

 

 

I love that colour!


Das leben ist wie ein Perpetuum Mobile mit ein Mangel..... Immer im Bewegung jedoch nicht unendlich. (life is like a troubled Perpetuum Mobile ever moving but not for ever)

Tricked throughout the centuries...

For centuries people had been tricked by kings & "religion-alism"

In the 20th century people got tricked by communism

Today people get tricked by (neo)capitalism  :) 


#16 Oldane

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 16:22

So very cool no acid in there.... why does Richard Binder warns about this ink... Not to use them in I believe platinum pens....

 

A high pH ink (higher than 7) can actually be worse than a somewhat acidic ink. I think I saw horrific pictures on Richard Binders website which showed the corrosive effects of that.

 

Let's not get obsessive about pH. Quite a few of the ordinary and very popular "safe" dye inks has pH at the same level or lower than some of the more moderate modern IG inks.

 

I said it in another post, and I'll say it again here: The pH is not a problem with modern IG inks for fountain pens. The real problem - if any - is the tendency to set a sediment which can clog the pen if it's not cleaned regularly. The higher the IG content, the greater the tendency to set sediment. The "Registrars" inks has a high IG content and will indeed set sediment. The now dicontinued MB BB set very little sediment and I used it for many years as my daily ink with no ill effects and only modest pen cleaning. I have yet to see R&K Salix and Scabiosa set any  sediment at all. Akkermann #10 seem to have less IG than the Registrars inks but a good deal more than say Salix. If my memory serves me well,  in another post you called IG inks "the mass murderer of fountain pens". As I said, I have used IG ink in all my fountain pens for more than two decades and the rumours concerning their death are greatly exaggerated (to paraphrase Mark Twain). All my pens are still alive and in good health. IG inks were used in fountain pens for decades in offices around the world because of their permanency.

 

Have you ever tried IG inks yourself? Do you have bad experiences with them?

 

The modern nanoparticle inks are not without their quirks. Often they have a high content of surfactant to keep the particles in suspension. The side effect of that is a pronounced tendency to feathering and bleedthrough especially on the low quality paper many of us has to use in our daily work. I love the color and permanency of De Artramentis Ducument ink (blue and dark blue that is), but I can't use them in my work due to feathering and bleedthrough.The IG inks behaves very well even on low grade paper. Some inks from a very popular brand has been reported to cause clogging without any trace of IG in them.

 

BTW, pH = The negative logaritm of the hydrogen ion concentration.


Edited by Oldane, 26 September 2014 - 09:02.


#17 wallylynn

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 22:19

 is the tendency to set a sediment which can clog the pen if it's not cleaned regularly. The higher the IG content, the greater the tendency to set sediment.

Modern stainless steel and plastics are very resistant to acid.  Don't worry about it.

 

Many well regarded inks are acid.  You just don't know it.

 

Mixing stuff into IG inks will change the pH, causing sediment to form.  The sediment being the same "black" that IG is known for, but instead of on paper, inside your pen or bottle.

 

Many old papers were eaten away.  Many old papers were not eaten away.  Both.  If you read up on IG ink, the general cause is the TYPE of acid used, not the strength of the acid.  Olden forumulas often use Sulfuric Acid (battery acid).  That remains around and slowly eats.  (Theoretically, a properly formulated ink should not have excess acid after the iron-gall reactions, but when you're collecting galls from the trees, that's hard to do).  Modern inks use Hydrochloric Acid which evaporates.  There's no acid left on the paper.

 

On the bright side, mold and fungi generally don't like acid (or alkaline).  Acidic pickles take longer to spoil than neutral milk.  I don't recall any stories about STIB in iron-gall inks. 



#18 SeeksAdvice

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 22:24

Noodler's ink claims that the pH of most of its products is ~7.0.  The B.S. line is about pH 9.00 or so?  Noodler's QSH is an acidic ink.

 

IIRC, many Asian inks are sharply alkaline with pH's >9, or has that changed?


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#19 FoszFay

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 23:16

Noodler's ink claims that the pH of most of its products is ~7.0.  The B.S. line is about pH 9.00 or so?  Noodler's QSH is an acidic ink.
 
IIRC, many Asian inks are sharply alkaline with pH's >9, or has that changed?

No, it hasn't. I was quite shocked when I looked at some pH tested levels, to see that Kon-Peki was over 9. That is the same as BSB, but to my knowledge, no-one has experienced the staining associated with BSB with KP.

I have a feeling it isn't all about the pH level...

Edit - pH levels post http://www.fountainp...-of-inks/page-3

Tom.

Edited by FoszFay, 25 September 2014 - 23:21.


#20 FoszFay

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 23:23

If you mix IG inks, it changes the pH level, causing the sediment to separate. This would only happen if the pH levels of mixed inks were a little or a lot different?

What would happen if the two mixed inks (one IG and one dye-based) had the same initial pH level?

Tom.

Edited by FoszFay, 25 September 2014 - 23:23.






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