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Hey There, I Know A Little Chemistry And Am Looking To Get Into Ink Making.



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I_stole_my_own_username

Hello there,

 

As the title says I know some chemistry and am considering making my own ink. I am still in the initial steps, and am looking for resources, and not recipes. I have read through [this link on ink chemistry,](http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/Issues/2003/March/inkchemistry.asp) and am currently going through the resources provided at the bottom as well as their subsequent sources. However I am finding many of the links I click on take me to non-fountain pen ink sites, and so I was directed here by Goulet to find out more. Do you have any literature on Ink chemistry?

 

Thank you for your replies

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graystranger

I can't help you, but if anyone can, they are probably on Fountain Pen Network!!

 

I think your posting should be in one of the ink related forums, but I'm not sure which one. Maybe the Moderator for this forum could move it for you? I know there are FPN members who are making their own iron gall inks, just like was done several hundred years ago. But I'm not sure if there are people making their own modern dye based inks, but most likely there are. Just not my area of exploration.

 

Looks like you are not getting that much of a response, but be patient.

 

I've had thoughts about boiling down tea to a very high concentration, then filtering it well and seeing if that worked. However, fountain pen ink usually has some wetting agents, along with other additives, so making your own ink is doable. You might try searching the subject within Fountain Pen Network to see what pops up from older postings.

 

Good luck!

Eschew Sesquipedalian Obfuscation

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How comfortable are you with lab chemistry?

Organic synthesis?

The history of modern chemistry is intimately linked with the history of dye and pigment.

 

Prussian Blue, Cerulean, Mauvine, Analine Yellow - punching these terms into Wikipedia/Google will provide you a starting point for your exploration.

Edited by StWm
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With the additives it gets complicated quickly. I'm not sure how but if you could get in touch with Tyler of the on-permanent-hiatus Organics Studio perhaps he'd share some secrets, recipes, or at least advice. Unfortunately, like with candle making, even small producers are likely to be antagonistic about sharing hard earned experience, something foreign to my amateur scientific view of things. Candle chemicals are much easier to get than ink ingredients I think, though for all I know Aldrich and Fisher offer everything needed.

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There is quit a lot available on inks, fountain pen inks and many others. It mainly depends what you are looking for.

 

If one compares the industrial relevance of printing ink, ink jet inks, etc it seems quite normal that much can be found on inks, with only a small part on fountain pen inks.

 

But: if you are not looking for recipes, what kind of resources are you looking for? History of inks, including fountain pen ink? The chemistry? By far one of the most documented chemistries is about Iron-gall inks (a lot of info out there, for instance )? Classical ones, fountain pen compatible? Information on current day inks (who would put their factory secrets on the net? These manufacturers and sellers need to earn a living as well.

 

So you end up in hobbyist sites (with varying quality you will have to judge by yourself based on your chemistry background) or search this forum for scattered (but very interesting) information, or you can start from old literature for old inks (check-out Gutenberg project for "ink" (the history of ink, forty centuries of ink, ...) of for instance here,

 

Or handbooks on ink manufacturing, J. Chem. Educ. articles on ink, scientific journal on forensic science, standards for ink and paper (related to archival or maybe not). Or if you are looking for the dyes themselves, any handbook on dyes can give you inspiration, from mixing water soluble dyes, to cold-reactive cellulose reactive dyes.

 

So probably a it focus is worthwhile?

Ik ontken het grote belang van de computer niet, maar vind het van een stuitende domheid om iets wat al millennia zijn belang heeft bewezen daarom overboord te willen gooien (Ann De Craemer)

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  • 2 weeks later...

How comfortable are you with lab chemistry?

Organic synthesis?

The history of modern chemistry is intimately linked with the history of dye and pigment.

 

Prussian Blue, Cerulean, Mauvine, Analine Yellow - punching these terms into Wikipedia/Google will provide you a starting point for your exploration.

Before science there was art. Those are all less expensive, less laborious and/or less toxic replacements for pigments used to make egg tempera and oil paints used in the the Middle Ages.

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Pen Engineer

red cabbage and onion peel are amazing... add a bit of colour stabiliser in it (boil it in an aluminium pot)

 

I wrote about ink on my website... perhaps you wanna go and have a look?

 

https://fountainpendesign.wordpress.com/ink-function-chemistry-production-quality/

 

pop in, sit down for a good yarn

with kindness...

 

Amadeus W.
Ingeneer2

visit Fountain Pen Design

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red cabbage and onion peel are amazing... add a bit of colour stabiliser in it (boil it in an aluminium pot)

 

I wrote about ink on my website... perhaps you wanna go and have a look?

 

https://fountainpendesign.wordpress.com/ink-function-chemistry-production-quality/

 

pop in, sit down for a good yarn

I read your blog and generally I have to say it is good quality writing. But I have few suggestions :

 

- surface tension is of course one of main parameters for ink. But both viscosity and wetability od different materials are almost equal important, and in some cases even more.

 

- I would throw away paragraph about acetic acid - with how many dyes it should be used? 4-5? And even so those are rather rarely used dyes.

 

- glycerin and ethylene glycol do not form layers on surface of water thick and good enough to influence speed of evaporation - they act mostly because they are hygroscopic, and the water which evaporates from the ink is "drawed" back to it.

There are of course that forms very thin layers on surface of water and strongly influence evaporation but they look different.

 

I would not call ink a merely colored water - almost first person from the street could mix a dye with water and call it ink. But to have a good ink one have to have idea what he want to achieve, and than have enough knowledge and experience to make it work :)

I have a lot of tape - and I won't hesitate to use it!

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  • 3 months later...
Pen Engineer

I read your blog and generally I have to say it is good quality writing. But I have few suggestions :

 

- surface tension is of course one of main parameters for ink. But both viscosity and wetability od different materials are almost equal important, and in some cases even more.

 

- I would throw away paragraph about acetic acid - with how many dyes it should be used? 4-5? And even so those are rather rarely used dyes.

 

- glycerin and ethylene glycol do not form layers on surface of water thick and good enough to influence speed of evaporation - they act mostly because they are hygroscopic, and the water which evaporates from the ink is "drawed" back to it.

There are of course that forms very thin layers on surface of water and strongly influence evaporation but they look different.

 

I would not call ink a merely colored water - almost first person from the street could mix a dye with water and call it ink. But to have a good ink one have to have idea what he want to achieve, and than have enough knowledge and experience to make it work :)

You have a lot of tape - and you won't hesitate to use it? What for?

 

Oh, thanks for your your suggestions...

 

I found that viscosity did not change much with the variation of inks. I would say, what difference I measured was well within the range of the test method.

 

Yes, wetability, I thought the surface angle is a good way of expressing the various behaviours in relationship of different materials. Would you give me more info on your thoughts?

 

Did not understand the paragraph on acetic acid.... I can tell what we did, and I told it and that's all I know. I am not a chemist, please keep your reply simple... and I am happy to include it in my writings, with your permission.

 

...about the ethylene glycol... during my experimenting I observed that with adding it, evaporation and drying of ink on the feed and nib reduced... as I said in my writings. I was told that it is an surfactant and was given the explanation I reported by the BAFS people... who am I to challenge them? ...and it worked.

 

The dirty water was meant tongue in cheek... and when I started looking into our supplier's methods it did not look far of dirty water....

 

Thanks again and if you would please give me more info and I will change things

with kindness...

 

Amadeus W.
Ingeneer2

visit Fountain Pen Design

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inkstainedruth

There are several people who have posted information about ink making, especially if you get into doing iron gall inks. Look in particular for stuff from FPN member Pharmacist.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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You have a lot of tape - and you won't hesitate to use it? What for?

 

Oh, thanks for your your suggestions...

 

I found that viscosity did not change much with the variation of inks. I would say, what difference I measured was well within the range of the test method.

 

Yes, wetability, I thought the surface angle is a good way of expressing the various behaviours in relationship of different materials. Would you give me more info on your thoughts?

 

Did not understand the paragraph on acetic acid.... I can tell what we did, and I told it and that's all I know. I am not a chemist, please keep your reply simple... and I am happy to include it in my writings, with your permission.

 

...about the ethylene glycol... during my experimenting I observed that with adding it, evaporation and drying of ink on the feed and nib reduced... as I said in my writings. I was told that it is an surfactant and was given the explanation I reported by the BAFS people... who am I to challenge them? ...and it worked.

 

The dirty water was meant tongue in cheek... and when I started looking into our supplier's methods it did not look far of dirty water....

 

Thanks again and if you would please give me more info and I will change things

 

BTW. From what was made your glass capillary you used for testing? Was this made from quartz glass? Even if this was from boro-silicate glass than heating to more than 500 degrees will likely lead to deformation of borosilicate glass if both cooling and heating was conducted at specific rate. So the diameter of capillary will vary.

 

If you are measuring surface tension by measuring the capillary action, you have to take into account that you are in truth measuring both wetting and surface tension. Both surfactants and dyes added to inks are likely going to lower the wetting of glass. So in effect you can measure that the capillary effect for two different mixtures might be very similar, but they differ strongly in both wetting properties and surface tension.

 

Paragraph about acetic acids - dyes and ways of keeping them in solution changed from 1920. The first were triarylmethane dyes, which were present in solution as cations, this is why acetic acid was used - to act as counter ion. After that azo dyes were used, at begging they were first also introduced in form of cations which also required acetic acid, after that sulphonated versions were used. Going on more and more different dyes were introduced on market, coming from different class of compounds. In recent years non-ionic dyes that are soluble in water are getting more available, and finally we had introduction of good quality pigments and similar which are opening even greater possibilities.

So acetic acid might be used to improve the stability of ink, if the ink would be made from a specific group of 4 or 5 dyes. While inks can and are made from dozens of different dyes. Actually from all inks I know, no one have acetic acid.

 

Every surfactant changes (lowers) surface tension, but not every compound that lowers surface tension is a surfactant. What is specific for surfactants that they act at interface of phases, they can form micelles, and are generally amphiphilic compounds. What is also pretty specific that introduction of ~0,1 gram of surfactant per liter of water of can lower the surface tension by 20-30%. While by adding 100 g of ethylene glycol to liter of water, you get mixture which the surface tensions is lower in comparison to water by ~4,85% (I can't imagine that ink would have more than 50 grams of compound similar to ethylene glycol and be usable, btw, ethylene glycol is toxic). Also the mechanism how the ethylene glycol and surfactants lower the surface tension are totally different.

Not everybody working in BASF is an expert in chemistry, ethylene glycol and similar compounds are sometimes used in detergents, but they are certainly not working in them as surfactants.

I have a lot of tape - and I won't hesitate to use it!

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Pen Engineer

 

BTW. From what was made your glass capillary you used for testing? Was this made from quartz glass? Even if this was from boro-silicate glass than heating to more than 500 degrees will likely lead to deformation of borosilicate glass if both cooling and heating was conducted at specific rate. So the diameter of capillary will vary.

 

If you are measuring surface tension by measuring the capillary action, you have to take into account that you are in truth measuring both wetting and surface tension. Both surfactants and dyes added to inks are likely going to lower the wetting of glass. So in effect you can measure that the capillary effect for two different mixtures might be very similar, but they differ strongly in both wetting properties and surface tension.

 

Paragraph about acetic acids - dyes and ways of keeping them in solution changed from 1920. The first were triarylmethane dyes, which were present in solution as cations, this is why acetic acid was used - to act as counter ion. After that azo dyes were used, at begging they were first also introduced in form of cations which also required acetic acid, after that sulphonated versions were used. Going on more and more different dyes were introduced on market, coming from different class of compounds. In recent years non-ionic dyes that are soluble in water are getting more available, and finally we had introduction of good quality pigments and similar which are opening even greater possibilities.

So acetic acid might be used to improve the stability of ink, if the ink would be made from a specific group of 4 or 5 dyes. While inks can and are made from dozens of different dyes. Actually from all inks I know, no one have acetic acid.

 

Every surfactant changes (lowers) surface tension, but not every compound that lowers surface tension is a surfactant. What is specific for surfactants that they act at interface of phases, they can form micelles, and are generally amphiphilic compounds. What is also pretty specific that introduction of ~0,1 gram of surfactant per liter of water of can lower the surface tension by 20-30%. While by adding 100 g of ethylene glycol to liter of water, you get mixture which the surface tensions is lower in comparison to water by ~4,85% (I can't imagine that ink would have more than 50 grams of compound similar to ethylene glycol and be usable, btw, ethylene glycol is toxic). Also the mechanism how the ethylene glycol and surfactants lower the surface tension are totally different.

Not everybody working in BASF is an expert in chemistry, ethylene glycol and similar compounds are sometimes used in detergents, but they are certainly not working in them as surfactants.

Ooooh! thanks....

 

The capillaries must have been quartz glass.

 

I used them only for comparative testing, not for measuring. For that, I used a platinum ring device, which was later used for QA testing. And I measured the contact angle.

 

You know much more about the technicalities of ink. At the time, I had enough understanding to allow me to design the components for a fountain pen. I was not out to create new ink. The information I give in my paper is passed on information.

 

True, not everyone is an expert. I used to assess information given by the way their application provided the expected result. If it did, I had no reason to doubt.

 

The tests I did with ethylene glycol were in regards to reduce the drying of ink on the nib and the feed. And it worked. I can't remember how much I used but it was much less than 50gms, rather around 5 gms.

 

I will change some section on my writing about ink and will include some of the information that you have supplied.

 

Thanks again.

Edited by Pen Engineer

with kindness...

 

Amadeus W.
Ingeneer2

visit Fountain Pen Design

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  • 3 months later...

does anyone know how to calibrate an electrical pH-meter? calibration liquids cost an arm and a leg. are there any other ways? there is a small screw with which I could adjust the reading to any value, as long as I know what it is supposed to be.

 

Thanks

with kindness...

 

Amadeus W.
Ingeneer2

visit Fountain Pen Design

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does anyone know how to calibrate an electrical pH-meter? calibration liquids cost an arm and a leg. are there any other ways? there is a small screw with which I could adjust the reading to any value, as long as I know what it is supposed to be.

 

Thanks

I always use the calibration liquids, sorry.

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Assuming that there is only one screw and that there is no software procedure in your meter that displays something like put probe in pH 4 push button then the same in pH 7 or something similar : the only way to know what it is to be displayed is to read it from the calibration bottle and follow the calibration procedure for your specific pH tool. You can make the calibration solutions yourself, but then you require the chemicals, a very precise balance and volumetric glassware (or large amounts that you can weigh on digital kitchen balances but then you will have large volumes). Anyhow it will cost you more than the calibration solution you buy IMO.

Ik ontken het grote belang van de computer niet, maar vind het van een stuitende domheid om iets wat al millennia zijn belang heeft bewezen daarom overboord te willen gooien (Ann De Craemer)

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I always use the calibration liquids, sorry.

 

 

Assuming that there is only one screw and that there is no software procedure in your meter that displays something like put probe in pH 4 push button then the same in pH 7 or something similar : the only way to know what it is to be displayed is to read it from the calibration bottle and follow the calibration procedure for your specific pH tool. You can make the calibration solutions yourself, but then you require the chemicals, a very precise balance and volumetric glassware (or large amounts that you can weigh on digital kitchen balances but then you will have large volumes). Anyhow it will cost you more than the calibration solution you buy IMO.

Thanks guys... I almost expected this response. :(

 

As a non-chemist, I was thinking... if one would make a saturated NaCl solution that it should have a specific, predictable pH value... for example 8.3 just to say anything. If I stick the pH-meter in this solution I thought I could tweak the little screw until the display shows 8.3... :rolleyes:

 

It's not that simple? :blush: Is it?

with kindness...

 

Amadeus W.
Ingeneer2

visit Fountain Pen Design

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Thanks guys... I almost expected this response.

 

As a non-chemist, I was thinking... if one would make a saturated NaCl solution that it should have a specific, predictable pH value... for example 8.3 just to say anything. If I stick the pH-meter in this solution I thought I could tweak the little screw until the display shows 8.3...

 

It's not that simple? Is it?

 

It's not that simple indeed. Your thinking is right but not the chemicals and numbers.

Chemists indeed use standardised solutions of given composition with known pH to calibrate pH meters.

Sodium chloride is not used as pH standard, as a salt of a strong base and strong acid it hardly influences pH.

If you definitely do not want to use the commercial pH calibration buffers, and not make these yourself based on the same chemicals and have only adjustment screw (a decent pH meter has in fact three, one wants a calibration line, so offset and gain are necessary (and one for temperature effect) and you want to use chemicals available in a typical household situation, I would suggest you use borax (either penta or decahydrate both work in principle).

Make a saturated solution by heating up water (demineralised) to say 70 - 80 degC and adding borax and stirring until it is nearly saturated. Let cool down overnight (enjoy the formation of borax snow crystals, a joy in itself) and take the liquid (saturated solution, good suggestion there, but not all pH buffers are saturated solution, on the contrary) It should have a pH of 9.2 or 9.3. This should be close enough to calibrate a single point calibration pH meter.

Beware : 1) use chemicals with care and follow safety instructions, 2) this is a one point calibration, in real life (labs) you one calibrates a pH meter in the vicinity of the point where one wants to measure, if you measure acidic inks, well you calibrated in the wrong range. 3) You can draw many straight lines through a single point, so your reading might be further of, the further you get from your calibration point, 4) close the container with your calibration solution, it is a basic solution, it wil absorb ao CO2 from the air and change in pH over time, 5) if you don't need your solution anymore, dispose according to local waste regulations, use in eco-friendly home brew laundry stuff or add shellac to make indelible ink for dip pens. Succes.

Edited by El Gordo

Ik ontken het grote belang van de computer niet, maar vind het van een stuitende domheid om iets wat al millennia zijn belang heeft bewezen daarom overboord te willen gooien (Ann De Craemer)

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