Ink Types: Dye Sublimation

 In Reprographics

Last week we discussed UV inks. Today we’re talking about dye sublimation. If you’re new to the series, we’re introducing printing technology based on the different types of most commonly used inks, including:

• Aqueous
• Solvent
• UV
• Dye sublimation
• Pen/Plotter
• Latex

So, what is dye sublimation? It’s actually a pretty fascinating process. If you’re familiar with the process of sublimation, you’ll remember (from your high school chemistry class) that sublimation occurs when a solid form transitions directly to a gaseous form.

The basic process works like this: the solid dye is heated up and transformed (sublimated!) into a gas. The gaseous dye then permeates the print media (which can be anything, from photo paper to the cloth of a t-shirt), and returns to a liquid and solid state. Only one ribbon is heated at a time, so the process is repeated and the finished product is the result of layered dyes. Pretty interesting stuff!

Tune in next week for info on pen/plotter inks!

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