Dyeing Process | Different Types of Dyes | Classification of Dyes

Dyeing Process:
A process of coloring fibers, yarns, or fabrics with either natural or synthetic dyes. Dyeing is an ancient art which predates written records. It was practised during the Bronze age in Europe. Primitive dyeing techniques included sticking plants to fabric or rubbing crushed pigments into cloth. The methods became more sophisticated with time and techniques using natural dyes from crushed fruits, berries and other plants, which were boiled into the fabric and gave light and water fastness (resistance), were developed. Dyeing can be done at any stage of the manufacturing of textile- fiber, yarn, fabric or a finished textile product including garments and apparels. The property of color fastness depends upon two factors- selection of proper dye according to the textile material to be dyed and selection of the method for dyeing the fiber, yarn or fabric

Substances that add color to textiles. They are incorporated into the fiber by chemical reaction, absorption, or dispersion. Dyes differ in their resistance to sunlight, perspiration, washing, gas, alkalies, and other agents; their affinity for different fibers; their reaction to cleaning agents and methods; and their solubility and method of application.
Different Types of Dyes
Different Types of Dyes
Various classes and types of dyes are listed below:
  1. Acid Dyes
  2. Natural Dyes
  3. Basic (Cationic) Dyes
  4. Synthetic Dyes
  5. Direct (substantive) Dyes
  6. Disperse Dyes
  7. Sulfur Dyes
  8. Pigment Dyes
  9. Mordant Dyes
  10. Vat Dyes
  11. Reactive Dyes
  12. Macromolecular Dyes
  13. Metallized Dyes
  14. Naphthol Dyes
  15. Premetallized Dyes
  16. Gel Dyeing
  17. Developed Dyes
  18. Azo Dyes
  19. Aniline Dyes
  20. Anthraquinone Dyes
Acid Dyes
A class of dyes used on wool, other animal fibers, and some manufactured fibers. Acid dyes are seldom used on cotton or linen since this process requires a mordant. Acid dyes are widely used on nylon when high washfastness is required. In some cases, even higher washfastness can be obtained by aftertreatment with fixatives.

Natural Dyes
Direct Printing, it is the most common approach to apply a color pattern onto a fabric. If done on colored fabric, it is known as overprinting. The desired pattern is produced by pressing dye on the fabric in a paste form. To prepare the print paste, a thickening agent is added to a limited amount of water and dye is dissolved in it. Earlier starch was preferred as a thickening agent for printing. Nowadays gums or alginates derived from seaweed are preferred as they allow better penetration of color and are easier to wash out. Most pigment printing is done without thickeners because the mixing up of resins, solvents and water produces thickening anyway.

Basic (Cationic) Dyes
Basic dyes are water-soluble and are mainly used to dye acrylic fibers. They are mostly used with a mordant. A mordant is a chemical agent which is used to set dyes on fabrics by forming an insoluble compound with the dye. With mordant, basic dyes are used for cotton, linen, acetate, nylon, polyesters, acrylics and modacrylics. Other than acrylic, basic dyes are not very suitable for any other fiber as they are not fast to light, washing or perspiration. Thus, they are generally used for giving an after treatment to the fabrics that have already been dyed with acid dyes.

Synthetic Dyes
Synthetic dyes are classified based upon their chemical composition and the method of their application in the dyeing process.

Direct (substantive) Dyes
Direct dyes color cellulose fibers directly without the use of mordants. They are used for dyeing wool, silk, nylon, cotton, rayon etc. These dyes are not very bright and have poor fastness to washing although they are fairly fast to light.

Disperse Dyes
Disperse dyes are water insoluble. These dyes are finely ground and are available as a paste or a powder that gets dispersed in water. These particles dissolve in the fibers and impart color to them. These dyes were originally developed for the dyeing of cellulose acetate but now they are used to dye nylon, cellulose triacetate, and acrylic fibers too.

Sulfur Dyes
Sulfur Dyes are insoluble and made soluble by the help of caustic soda and sodium sulfide. Dyeing is done at high temperature with large quantities of salt so that the color penetrates into the fiber. After dyeing the fabric is oxidized for getting desired shades by exposure to air or by using chemicals. Excess dyes and chemicals are removed by thorough washing. These dyes are fast to light, washing and perspiration and are mostly used for cotton and linen.

Pigment Dyes
Although pigments are not dyes in a true sense, they are extensively used for coloring fabrics like cotton,wool and other manmade fibers due to their excellent light fastness. They do not have any affinity to the fibers and are affixed to the fabric with the help of resins. After dyeing, the fabrics are subjected to high temperatures.

Mordant Dyes
The mordant or chrome dyes are acidic in character. Sodium or potassium bichromate is used with them in the dyebath or after the process of dyeing is completed. This is done for getting the binding action of the chrome. They are mostly used for wool which gets a good color fastness after treatment with mordant dyes. They are also used for cotton, linen, silk, rayon and nylon but are less effective for them.

Vat Dyes
Vat dyes are insoluble in water and cannot dye fibers directly. However, They can be made soluble by reduction in alkaline solution which allows them to affix to the textile fibers. Subsequent oxidation or exposure to air restore the dye to its insoluble form. Indigo is the original vat dye. These dyes are the fastest dyes for cotton, linen and rayon. They are used with mordants to dye other fabrics such as wool, nylon, polyesters, acrylics and modacrylics.

Reactive Dyes
Reactive dyes react with fiber molecules to form a chemical compound. These dyes, they are either applied from alkaline solution or from neutral solutions which are then alkalized in a separate process. Sometimes heat treatment is also used for developing different shades. After dyeing, the fabric is washed well with soap so as to remove any unfixed dye. Reactive dyes were originally used for cellulose fibers only but now their various types are used for wool, silk, nylon, acrylics and their blends as well.

Macromolecular Dyes
A group of inherently colored polymers. They are useful both as polymers and as dyes with high color yield. The chromophores fit the recognized CI classes, i.e., azo, anthraquinone, etc., although not all CI classes are represented. Used for mass dyeing, hair dyes, writing inks, etc.

Metallized Dyes
A class of dyes that have metals in their molecular structure. They are applied from an acid bath.

Naphthol Dyes
A type of azo compound formed on the fiber by first treating the fiber with a phenolic compound. The fiber is then immersed in a second solution containing a diazonuim salt that reacts with the phenilic compound to produce a colored azo compound. Since the phenolic compound is dissolved in caustic solution, these dyes are mainly used for cellulose fiber, although other fibers can be dyed by modifying the process. (Also see DYES, Developed Dyes.)

Premetallized Dyes
Acid dyes that are treated with coordinating metals such as chromium. This type of dye has much better wetfastness than regular acid dye. Premetallized dyes are used on nylon, silk, and wool.

Gel Dyeing
Passing a wet-spun fiber that is in the gel state (not yet at full crystallinity or orientation) through a dyebath containing dye with affinity for the fiber. This process provides good accessibility of the dye sites.

Developed Dyes
Dyes that are formed by the use of a developer. The substrate is first dyed in a neutral solution with a dye base, usually colorless. The dye is then diazotized with sodium nitrate and an acid and afterwards treated with a solution of B-naphthol, or a similar substance, which is the developer. Direct dyes are developed to produce a different shade or to improve washfastness or lightfastness.

Azo Dyes
Dyes characterized by the presence of an azo group (-N=N-) as the chromophore. Azo dyes are found in many of the synthetic dye classes.

Aniline Dyes
Dyes derived chemically from aniline or other coal tar derivatives.

Anthraquinone Dyes
Dyes that have anthraquinone as their base and the carbonyl group (>C=O) as the chromophore. Anthraquinone-based dyes are found in most of the synthetic dye classes.

About the Editor-in-Chief:

Mazharul Islam Kiron is a textile consultant and researcher on online business promotion. He is working with one European textile machinery company as a country agent. He is also a contributor of Wikipedia.

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