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Working On The Perfect Prussian Blue Ink.


Flaxmoore
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Did you mean you and I are not looking at the same color, or you and the original poster, due to variations in formulation?

It's definitely capable of being a high-chroma color, especially while wet. It's no Azurite or Indigo but it's up there. Glycerin helps it keep some of that oomph, glycol actually dulls it a bit, etc.

 

And yet they're probably all Prussian Blue. Earlier today I produced a bizarre "Prussian Teal" via massive ferrous impurities. That's a clue, I think. Traditional synthesis means oxidizing a ferrous precursor, which is bound to leave some junk behind. I mixed salts for a pure result and got something which which greens very little when thinned (obviously talking about my original stuff, not the 'prussian teal'.)

 

You might also find it interesting that I've gotten a pinkish-red sheen on solid chunks of pure pigment.

Edited by Corona688
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Also, that your machinist's bluing was still good after a century implies strongly it was the kind mixed with oil, which dulls it, rather than the kind mixed with methanol, which brings out the color.

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On further research, I've found that there's literally different kinds of Prussian Blue. Ferrocyanides tend to sop up any other salts in solution when they precipitate, and have more possible double-salts than you can count.

 

I think I've got Ferric Potassium Ferrocyanide - soluble blue, type I. Or at best a mixture. Being he gets his pigment in water, @OP quite probably does too.

 

You've probably got type III, "Turnbull's Blue", which is supposed to be significantly more greenish.

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  • 2 months later...

 

It was interesting to come to Sei-Boku in this discussion, as it was the ink I thought of too seeing all the examples of Prussian Blue. Sei-Boku is an interesting ink: it goes down as more vibrant higher teal component navy blue while wet and then dries quickly to a less vivid, less teal navy blue. It also sheens quite easily on non-absorbent paper in higher writing concentration. It can definitely look a lot like the stamp linked earlier. I would not call it a vibrant or "very deep and rich blue" that the OP was looking for, however, as while it is fairly saturated and can be deep, it lacks vibrancy of something like Diamine ASA Blue or Monteverde Charoite.

It's highly dependent on the paper. I've been using it daily for the past 6 months or so. Sometimes it's deep and rich and sometimes it is teal and shades...depending on the quality of that particular sheet of paper.

 

It also writes on almost anything and (annoyingly perhaps) sticks to the metal nib more than any other ink. Since real prussian blue is or was used as layout fluid to mark metal for machining, this makes sense.

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Also, that your machinist's bluing was still good after a century implies strongly it was the kind mixed with oil, which dulls it, rather than the kind mixed with methanol, which brings out the color.

I had to mix it with alcohol to get it wet again. It was hard as a rock.

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Managed to visit Wonderpens yesterday. They were all out of Sailor Sei Boku, but by some miracle I managed to snag some in a sample pack and concur, it is Prussian Blue, plus some sort of binder. When I return home next week I'll do a chemical test and see if it dissolves in alkalines like the real thing.

Edited by Corona688
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Managed to visit Wonderpens yesterday. They were all out of Sailor Sei Boku, but by some miracle I managed to snag some in a sample pack and concur, it is Prussian Blue, plus some sort of binder. When I return home next week I'll do a chemical test and see if it dissolves in alkalines like the real thing.

 

I can't wait to see your results- I don't have the equipment or knowledge to perform this particular test.

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I had 15 minutes to kill this morning and gave it a shot.

 

Sailor Sei Boku is not a suspension of Prussian Blue. It doesn't dissolve in an alkaline that eats Prussian Blue in seconds.

Edited by Corona688
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I had 15 minutes to kill this morning and gave it a shot.

 

Sailor Sei Boku is not a suspension of Prussian Blue. It doesn't dissolve in an alkaline that eats Prussian Blue in seconds.

That's disappointing. I wonder how they matched the color so exactly?

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That's disappointing. I wonder how they matched the color so exactly?

I think they tried to imitate Prussian Blue at the structural level, to let people put it in pens. The same basic hue, imbued in polymer particles of the same basic size, engineered with the correct affinity for water, would scatter light a lot more like the real article than just a pile of dye sitting there.
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I think they tried to imitate Prussian Blue at the structural level, to let people put it in pens. The same basic hue, imbued in polymer particles of the same basic size, engineered with the correct affinity for water, would scatter light a lot more like the real article than just a pile of dye sitting there.

 

Quite possibly. It's definitely a nanoparticle ink- did you notice how opaque it is in the bottle/vial?

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It'd be pretty hard to mistake it for the real thing if it wasn't :)

Edited by Corona688
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  • 1 month later...

So yesterday I attempted Turnbull's Blue by way of Ferric Chloride and Potassium Ferricyanide. I thought that might make a kind of "Prussian Gall" which could sit in a pen and darken into Prussian Blue when written.

 

This morning it had finished overnight without waiting for me. Reduction does not require oxygen, after all. The hydrochloric stink when I opened the jar this morning was unbelievable. I can't get acid that strong in the cleaning section! I risked my dip pen to write with it, and the color was dusty, greenish, and weak. Not much to recommend it.

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Both these things have a problem: The glycol and the soap both include a yellow tint from some dye or other, and in large amounts will pollute the blue down to grey. In the minuscule amounts I use them it doesn't seem to matter, I hope.

 

Would MiraLax be a better source of polyethylene glycol? At the very least it seems less yellow. I assume brake fluids would be a mix, even if mostly polyethylene glycol. I was surprised to see that rxlist.com says that a 17g dose of Miralax contains 17g of polyethylene glycol, and also says "Inactive Ingredient...None".

 

As for soap... clear Dawn? I don't recall what you're using the soap for and it's too late to read that far back (again), but there's also photoflo.

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In the amounts I should have been using, the tint doesn't matter. Even glycerin is okay if I'm sparing with it. (Not tinting, but very wet.) That still doesn't make anything which can write with a fountain pen, however dip pens work great.

 

I'm trying a new tack however. If I can make ferric ammonium citrate, I can make cyanotype-in-a-pen fluid.

Edited by Corona688
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  • 3 years later...

hey everyone i am new to this forum and i have been experimenting with prussian blue and have had varying degrees of success but i have seen that this is an old chat and not sure if anyone is still on this trail

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