dyable, dyeable, adj.dyer, n.
/duy/, n., v., dyed, dyeing.
1. a coloring material or matter.
2. a liquid containing coloring matter, for imparting a particular hue to cloth, paper, etc.
3. color or hue, esp. as produced by dyeing.
4. of the deepest or blackest dye, of the most extreme or the worst sort: a prevaricator of the blackest dye.
5. to color or stain; treat with a dye; color (cloth, hair, etc.) with a substance containing coloring matter: to dye a dress green.
6. to impart (color) by means of a dye: The coloring matter dyed green.
7. to impart color, as a dye: This brand dyes well.
8. to become colored or absorb color when treated with a dye: This cloth dyes easily.
[bef. 1000; ME dien, OE deagian, deriv. of deag a dye]

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Any of a class of intensely coloured complex organic compounds used to colour textiles, leather, paper, and other materials.

Dyes known to the ancients came from plants such as indigo and madder (see madder family) or from the shells of mollusks; today most dyes are made from coal tar and petrochemicals. The chemical structure of dyes is relatively easy to modify, so many new colours and types of dyes have been synthesized. Dye molecules are deposited from solution onto materials in such a way that they cannot be removed by the original solvent. Fibre-reactive dyes form a covalent bond with the fibre. Other dyes require prior application of a mordant, an inorganic material that causes the dye to precipitate as an insoluble salt. Another technique is vat dyeing, in which a soluble colourless compound is absorbed by the fibres, then oxidized (see oxidation-reduction) to the insoluble coloured compound, making it remarkably resistant to the fading effects of washing, light, and chemicals. See also azo dye.

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 substance used to impart colour to textiles (textile), paper, leather, and other materials such that the colouring is not readily altered by washing, heat, light, or other factors to which the material is likely to be exposed. Dyes differ from pigments (pigment), which are finely ground solids dispersed in a liquid, such as paint or ink, or blended with other materials. Most dyes are organic compounds (organic compound) (i.e., they contain carbon), whereas pigments may be inorganic compounds (inorganic compound) (i.e., they do not contain carbon) or organic compounds. Pigments generally give brighter colours and may be dyes that are insoluble in the medium employed.

      Colour has always fascinated humankind, for both aesthetic and social reasons. Throughout history dyes and pigments (pigment) have been major articles of commerce. Manufacture of virtually all commercial products involves colour at some stage, and today some 9,000 colorants with more than 50,000 trade names are used. The large number is a consequence of the range of tints and hues desired, the chemical nature of the materials to be coloured, and the fact that colour is directly related to the molecular structure of the dye.

History of dyes

Natural dyes
  Some natural dyes and their sources Some natural dyes and their sourcesUntil the 1850s virtually all dyes were obtained from natural sources, most commonly from vegetables (vegetable), such as plants (plant), trees (tree), and lichens (lichen), with a few from insects (insect). Solid evidence that dyeing methods are more than 4,000 years old has been provided by dyed fabrics found in Egyptian tombs. Ancient hieroglyphs describe extraction and application of natural dyes. Countless attempts have been made to extract dyes from brightly coloured plants and flowers; yet only a dozen or so natural dyes found widespread use. Undoubtedly most attempts failed because most natural dyes are not highly stable and occur as components of complex mixtures, the successful separation of which would be unlikely by the crude methods employed in ancient times. Nevertheless, studies of these dyes in the 1800s provided a base for development of synthetic dyes, which dominated the market by 1900.

      Two natural dyes, alizarin and indigo, have major significance. Alizarin is a red dye extracted from the roots of the madder plant (madder), Rubia tinctorium. Two other red dyes were obtained from scale insects (scale insect). These include kermes, obtained from Coccus ilicis (or Kermes ilicis), which infects the Kermes oak, and cochineal, obtained from Dactylopius coccus, which lives on prickly pear cactus (prickly pear) in Mexico. One kilogram (2.2 pounds) of cochineal dye can be obtained from an estimated 200,000 insects. The principal coloured components in these dyes are kermesic and carminic acids, respectively, whose similarity was established by 1920. In their natural state many colorants are rendered water-soluble through the presence of sugar residues. These sugars, however, are often lost during dye isolation procedures.

 Probably the oldest known dye is the blue dye indigo, obtained in Europe from the leaves of the dyerswoad (woad) herb, Isatis tinctoria, and in Asia from the indigo plant, Indigofera tinctoria. Even by modern standards, both alizarin and indigo have very good dyeing properties, and indigo remains a favoured dye for denim, although synthetic indigo has replaced the natural material. With a process developed by the Phoenicians, a derivative of indigo, Tyrian purple, was extracted in very small amounts from the glands of a snail, Murex brandaris, indigenous to the Mediterranean Sea. Experiments in 1909 yielded 1.4 grams (0.05 ounce) from 12,000 snails. Historically, this dye was also called royal purple because kings, emperors, and high priests had the exclusive right to wear garments dyed with it, as is well documented in the Old Testament of the Bible and illustrated for Roman emperors on mosaics in Ravenna, Italy. By the 1450s, with the decline of the Eastern Roman Empire, the Mediterranean purple industry died out.

      Natural yellow dyes include louting, from the leaves of weld, Reseda luteola, and quercetin, from the bark of the North American oak tree, Quercus tinctoria. These are in the flavonoid family, a group of compounds occurring almost exclusively in higher plants and producing the colours of many flowers. In fact, these compounds can produce all the colours of the rainbow except green. Luteolin, a yellow crystalline pigment, was used with indigo to produce Lincoln green, the colour associated with Robin Hood and his merry men.

      Another group of compounds, the carotenoids (carotenoid), present in all green plants, produce yellow to red shades. lycopene, from which all carotenoids are derived, produces the red colour of tomatoes. An ancient natural yellow dye, crocetin, was obtained from the stigmas of Crocus sativus; this dye is undoubtedly derived from lycopene in the plant. Few of the flavonoid and carotenoid colorants would have survived ancient extraction processes.

       logwood is the only natural dye used today. heartwood extracts of the logwood tree, Haematoxylon campechianum, yield hematoxylin, which oxidizes to hematein during isolation. The latter is red but in combination with chromium gives shades of charcoal, gray, and black; it is used mainly to dye silk and leather.

Mordants (mordant dye)
      Highly skilled craftsmen with closely guarded secret formulas rendered dyeing a well-protected trade. The formation of different colours by mixing red, blue, and yellow dyes was well known in ancient times, as was the use of metal salts (salt) to aid the retention of dyes on the desired material and to vary the resultant colours. Natural dyes cannot be applied directly to cotton, in contrast to wool and silk, although cotton can be dyed by vatting (vat dye) or by pretreatment with inorganic salts known as mordants (mordant dye) (from Latin mordere, meaning “to bite”). These are adsorbed on the fibre and react with the dye to produce a less soluble form that is held to the fabric. alum, KAl(SO4)2 × H2O, as well as iron, copper, and tin salts were common ancient mordants. No doubt the secret processes included other ingredients to improve the final results. Mordants also were used to vary the colours produced from a single dye. For example, treatment with aluminum hydroxide, Al(OH)3, before dyeing with alizarin produces Turkey red, the traditional red of British and French army uniforms. Alizarin gives violet colours with magnesium mordants, purple-red with calcium mordants, blue with barium mordants, and black-violet with ferrous salts. Around 1850, chromium salts, used as mordants, were found to provide superior dye retention and, in time, largely displaced the others; chromium mordants are still widely used for wool and, to some extent, for silk and nylon.

Decline of natural dyes
      Until 1857 the dye industry utilized natural dyes almost exclusively; however, by 1900 nearly 90 percent of industrial dyes were synthetic. Several factors contributed to the commercial decline of natural dyes. By 1850 the Industrial Revolution in Europe led to a burgeoning textile industry, which created increased demand for readily available, inexpensive, and easily applied dyes and revealed the important economic limitations of natural dyes. Since most dyes were imported from distant sources, transportation delays were likely to slow the production of dyed materials. Dye quality was affected by the whims of nature and the dye maker's skills. In addition, inefficient processes were often required for optimum results; for example, Turkey red dyeing could involve more than 20 steps to produce the desired bright, fast colour. Advances in organic chemistry, both practical and theoretical, spurred by studies of the many new compounds found in coal tar, increased interest in finding ways to utilize this by-product of coke production. The dye industry played a major role in the development of structural organic chemistry, which in turn provided a sound scientific foundation for the dye industry.

Synthetic dyes
 In 1856 the first commercially successful synthetic dye, mauve, was serendipitously discovered by British chemist William H. Perkin (Perkin, Sir William Henry), who recognized and quickly exploited its commercial significance. The introduction of mauve in 1857 triggered the decline in the dominance of natural dyes in world markets. Mauve had a short commercial lifetime (lasting about seven years), but its success catalyzed activities that quickly led to the discovery of better dyes. Today only one natural dye, logwood, is used commercially, to a small degree, to dye silk, leather, and nylon black.

      The synthetic dye industry arose directly from studies of coal tar. By 1850 coal tar was an industrial nuisance because only a fraction was utilized as wood preservative, road binder, and a source of the solvent naphtha. Fortunately, it attracted the attention of chemists as a source of new organic compounds, isolable by distillation. A leading researcher in this area, German chemist August Wilhelm von Hofmann (Hofmann, August Wilhelm von), had been attracted to England in 1845 to direct the Royal College of Chemistry. In the following 20 years, he trained most of the chemists in the English dye industry, one of whom was Perkin, the discoverer of mauve. The success of mauve led to demands by English textile manufacturers for other new dyes. By trial and error, reactions of coal tar compounds were found to yield useful dyes. However, Hofmann became disenchanted with this purely empirical approach, insisting that it was more important to understand the chemistry than to proceed blindly. In 1865 he returned to Germany, and by 1875 most of his students had been lured to German industrial positions. By 1900 more than 50 compounds had been isolated from coal tar, many of which were used in the developing German chemical industry. By 1914 the synthetic dye industry was firmly established in Germany, where 90 percent of the world's dyes were produced.

      Advances in the understanding of chemical structure, combined with strong industrial-academic interactions and favourable governmental practices, gave a setting well-suited for systematic development based on solid scientific foundations. Only a few Swiss firms and one in England survived the strong competition generated by the vigorous activity in the German dye industry.

      Recognition of the tetravalency of carbon and the nature of the benzene ring were key factors required to deduce the molecular structures of the well-known natural dyes (e.g., indigo and alizarin) and the new synthetics (e.g., mauve, Magenta, and the azo dyes (azo dye)). These structural questions were resolved, and industrial processes based on chemical principles were developed by the beginning of the 20th century. For example, Badische Anilin- & Soda-Fabrik (BASF Aktiengesellschaft) (BASF (BASF Aktiengesellschaft)) of Germany placed synthetic indigo on the market in 1897; development of the synthetic process of this compound was financed by profits from synthetic alizarin, first marketed in 1869.

 There was also interest in the effects of dyes on living tissue. In 1884 the Danish microbiologist Hans Christian Gram discovered that crystal violet irreversibly stains certain bacteria but can be washed from others. The dye has been widely used ever since for the Gram stain technique, which identifies bacteria as gram-positive (the stain is retained) or gram-negative (the stain is washed away). The German medical scientist Paul Ehrlich (Ehrlich, Paul) found that methylene blue stains living nerve cells (neuron) but not adjacent tissue. He proposed that compounds may exist that kill specific disease organisms by bonding to them without damaging the host cells (cell) and suggested the name chemotherapy (the treatment of diseases by chemical compounds).

      Other uses were explored for compounds discovered during coal tar research; examples include aspirin (an analgesic) and saccharin (a sweetener). Coal tar studies became the foundation of the synthetic chemical industry, because coal tar was the major source of raw materials. However, coal by-products became less popular with the emergence of petroleum feedstocks in the 1930s, which gave rise to the petrochemical industry.

      With the onset of World War I, British and U.S. industry were ill-prepared to provide products theretofore obtainable from Germany. The British government was forced to aid rejuvenation of its own dye industry; one measure brought several companies together, later to become part of Imperial Chemical Industries (Imperial Chemical Industries PLC) (ICI), modeled after the Bayer (Bayer AG) and BASF combines in Germany. In the United States a strong coal tar chemical industry quickly developed. After the war, leadership in organic chemistry began to shift from Germany to Switzerland, Britain, and the United States. In contrast to the combines of Europe, independent firms developed the U.S. research-oriented chemical industry.

      A few new dye types were introduced in the 20th century, and major challenges were posed by the introduction of synthetic fibres, which held a major share of the world market, and by technological advances.

Dye structure and colour
 Advances in structural theory led to investigations of correlations between chemical constitution and colour. In 1868 German chemists Carl Graebe (Graebe, Carl) and Carl Liebermann recognized that dyes contain sequences of conjugated double bonds: X=C−C=C−C=C− . . . , where X is carbon, oxygen, or nitrogen. In 1876 German chemist Otto Witt proposed that dyes contained conjugated systems of benzene rings bearing simple unsaturated groups (e.g., −NO2, −N=N−, −C=O), which he called chromophores (chromophore), and polar groups (e.g., −NH 2, −OH), which he named auxochromes. These ideas remain valid, although they have been broadened by better recognition of the role of specific structural features. He had also claimed that auxochromes impart dyeing properties to these compounds, but it later became clear that colour and dyeing properties are not directly related. Witt suggested the term chromogen for specific chromophore-auxochrome combinations.

      Examples of dyes, each containing a different chromophore, include azobenzene, xanthene, and triphenylmethane. Alizarin contains the anthraquinone (anthraquinone dye) chromophore. These four dyes were commercial products in the late 1800s.

      The colours of dyes and pigments are due to the absorption of visible light by the compounds. The electromagnetic spectrum spans a wavelength range of 1012 metres, from long radio waves (about 10 km [6.2 miles]) to short X-rays (X-ray) (about 1 nm [1 nm = 10–9 metre]), but human eyes detect radiation over only the small visible range of 400–700 nm. Organic compounds (organic compound) absorb electromagnetic energy, but only those with several conjugated double bonds appear coloured by the absorption of visible light (see spectroscopy: Molecular spectroscopy (spectroscopy)). Without substituents, chromophores do not absorb visible light, but the auxochromes shift the absorption of these chromogens into the visible region. In effect, the auxochromes extend the conjugated system. Absorption spectra (plots of absorption intensity versus wavelength) are used to characterize specific compounds. In visible spectra, the absorption patterns tend to be broad bands with maxima at longer wavelengths corresponding to more extended conjugation. The position and shape of the absorption band affect the appearance of the observed colour. Many compounds absorb in the ultraviolet region, with some absorptions extending into the violet (400–430 nm) region. Thus, these compounds appear yellowish to the eye—i.e., the perceived colour is complementary to the absorbed colour. Progressive absorption into the visible region gives orange (430–480 nm), red (480–550 nm), violet (550–600 nm), and blue (600–700 nm); absorption at 400–450 and 580–700 nm gives green. Black objects absorb all visible light; white objects reflect all visible light. The brilliance of a colour increases with decreasing bandwidth. Synthetic dyes tend to give brilliant colours. This undoubtedly led to their rapid rise in popularity because, by comparison, natural dyes give rather drab, diffuse colorations.

General features of dyes and dyeing
      In dyeing operations, the dye must become closely and evenly associated with a specific material to give level (even) colouring with some measure of resistance to moisture, heat, and light—i.e., fastness. These factors involve both chemical and physical interactions between the dye and the fabric. The dyeing process must place dye molecules within the microstructure of the fibre. The dye molecules can be anchored securely through the formation of covalent bonds (covalent bond) that result from chemical reactions between substituents on the molecules of the dye and the fibre. These are the reactive dyes (reactive dye), a type introduced in 1956. Many dye-fibre interactions, however, do not involve covalent bond formation. While some dyeing methods have several steps, many dyes can be successfully applied simply by immersing the fabric in an aqueous solution of the dye; these are called direct dyes (direct dye). In other cases, auxiliary compounds and additional steps are required to obtain the desired fastness. In any event, questions arise as to how and how well the dye is retained within the fibre. The structure of the fibres from which the common fabrics are made provides some guidance for the selection of useful colorants.

Fibre structure
 Fibre molecules are polymeric chains of repeating units of five major chemical types. Wool, silk, and leather are proteins (protein), which are polymers of α-amino acids (amino acid), RCH(NH2)COOH (where R is an organic group). Each chain consists of a series of amide linkages (−CO−NH−) separated by one carbon to which the R group, characteristic of each amino acid, is bonded. These groups may contain basic or acidic substituents, which can serve as sites for electrostatic interactions with dyes having, respectively, acidic or basic groups.

      Polyamides (nylons) are synthetic analogs of proteins having the amide groups separated by hydrocarbon chains, (CH2)n, and can be made with an excess of either terminal amino (−NH2) or terminal carboxyl groups (−COOH). These and the amide groups are sites for polar interactions with dyes. Polyester poly(ethylene terephthalate), or PET, is the main synthetic fibre, accounting for more than 50 percent of worldwide production of synthetic fibres. The terminal hydroxyl groups (−OH) can serve as dyeing sites, but PET is difficult to dye because the individual chains pack tightly. Acrylics have hydrocarbon chains bearing polar groups, mainly nitriles (nitrile), made by copolymerization of acrylonitrile (at least 85 percent) with small amounts (10–15 percent) of components such as acrylamide and vinyl acetate to produce a fibre with improved dyeability. Fibres with 35–85 percent acrylonitrile are termed modacrylics (modacrylic).

       cellulose is found in plants as a linear polymer of a few thousand glucose units, each with three free hydroxyl groups that can be extensively hydrogen-bonded. Cotton fibres (cotton) are essentially pure cellulose. wood contains 40–50 percent cellulose that is isolated as chemical cellulose by a process known as pulping. In fibre manufacture, the insolubility of cellulose caused processing problems that were overcome by the development of the viscose process, which produces regenerated cellulose with 300–400 glucose units. This semisynthetic cellulosic is rayon, which is very similar to cotton. The semisynthetic acetate rayon, produced by acetylation of chemical cellulose, has 200–300 glucose units with 75 percent of the hydroxyl groups converted to acetates. The smaller number of free hydroxyls precludes extensive hydrogen bonding, and dyes differing from those for cotton and rayon are needed.

Fibre porosity
      Fibres are made by various spinning techniques that produce bundles of up to several hundred roughly aligned strands of polymer chains with length-to-diameter ratios in the thousands. For the dyeing process, an important characteristic of fibres is their porosity. There is a huge number of submicroscopic pores aligned mainly on the longitudinal axis of the fibres such that there are roughly 10 million pores in a cross-section of a normal fibre. The internal surface area therefore is enormous—about 45,000 square metres per kilogram (5 acres per pound) for cotton and wool—some thousand times greater than the outer surface area. To produce deep coloration, a layer of 1,000–10,000 dye molecules in thickness is needed. Upon immersion in a dyebath, the fabric absorbs the aqueous dye solution, and the dye molecules can move into pores that are sufficiently large to accommodate them. Although many pores may be too small, there is an ample number of adequate size to give satisfactory depths of colour.

Dye retention
      Various attractive forces play a role in the retention of particular dyes on specific fibres. These include polar or ionic attractions, hydrogen bonding, van der Waals forces, and solubilities. The affinity of a dye for a given substrate through such interactions is termed its substantivity. Dyes can be classified by their substantivity, which depends, in part, on the nature of the substituents in the dye molecule.

      Attractive ionic interactions are operative in the case of anionic (anion) (acid) and cationic (cation) (basic) dyes, which have negatively and positively charged groups, respectively. These charged groups are attracted to sites of opposite polarity on the fibre. Mordant dyes (mordant dye) are a related type. In the mordanting process, the fabric is pretreated with metallic salts, which complex with polar groups of the fibre to form more highly polarized sites for better subsequent interaction with the dye molecules.

      Nonionic groups can also be involved in attractive interactions. Since the electronegativities (electronegativity) of oxygen, nitrogen, and sulfur are greater than those of carbon and hydrogen, when these elements are part of a compound, the electron densities at their atomic sites are enhanced and those at neighbouring atoms are decreased. An O−H bond is therefore polar, and an attractive interaction between the hydrogen of one bond and the oxygen of a neighbouring bond can occur. Hydrogen bonding may be exhibited by any weakly acidic hydrogen. Although there is no chemical bond, strong attractive forces are involved. Phenolic hydroxyl groups are more highly polarized and, in dyes, can act as auxochromes and as good hydrogen-bonding sites.

      Similar, but weaker, attractive forces are operative between other closely spaced polarized groups. These are the Van der Waals interactions, which are effective for dye adsorption if the separation between molecules is small. Such interactions are particularly important for cellulosics, which tend to have relatively large planar areas to which dye molecules are favourably attracted.

      Although most dyes are applied as aqueous solutions, the finished goods should not be prone to dye loss through washing or other exposure to moisture. An exception is in the common use of highly soluble dyes to identify different fibres for weaving processes. These are called fugitive tints and are readily removed with water.

Dyeing techniques
Direct dyeing (direct dye)
      Direct, or substantive, dyes are applied to the fabric from a hot aqueous solution of the dye. Under these conditions, the dye is more soluble and the wettability of natural fibres is increased, improving the transport of dye molecules into the fabric. In many cases, the fabric is pretreated with metallic salts or mordants to improve the fastness and to vary the colour produced by a given dye (see above Natural dyes: Mordants (dye)).

Disperse dyeing
      Penetration of the fabric by the dye is more difficult with the hydrophobic synthetic fibres of acetate rayon, PET, and acrylics, so an alternate dyeing technique is needed. These synthetic fabrics are dyed by immersion in an aqueous dispersion of insoluble dyes, whereby the dye transfers into the fibre and forms a solid solution. These disperse dyes were originally developed for acetate rayon but became the fastest growing dye class in the 1970s because of the rapid increase in world production of PET, which can be dyed only with small disperse dyes. Transfer into the fibre from a boiling dye bath is aided by carriers (e.g., benzyl alcohol or biphenyl). The transfer mechanism is unclear, but it appears that the fibres loosen slightly to permit dye entry and, on cooling, revert to the original tightly packed structure. Dyeing at higher temperatures (120–130 °C [248–266 °F]) under pressure avoids the need for carriers. With the Thermosol process, a pad-dry heat technique developed by the DuPont Company, temperatures of 180–220 °C (356–428 °F) are employed with contact times on the order of a minute.

Vat dyeing (vat dye)
 Conversion of a soluble species to an insoluble dye after transfer to the fibre is the basis of vat dyeing (vat dye), one of the ancient methods. indigo is insoluble but is readily reduced to a soluble, colourless form, leucoindigo. After treatment in a leucoindigo bath, the fabric becomes coloured upon exposure to air; atmospheric oxygen regenerates indigo by oxidation.

      In contrast to leucoindigo, indigo has no affinity for cotton. Water-insoluble aggregates of indigo molecules larger than the fibre pores are firmly trapped within the fabric. This process was traditionally done outdoors in large vessels or vats and, hence, was named vat dyeing, and the term is still used for this procedure.

Azo (azo dye) dyeing techniques
      The discovery of the azo dyes (azo dye) led to the development of other dyeing techniques. Azo dyes are formed from an azoic diazo component and a coupling component. The first compound, an aniline, gives a diazonium salt upon treatment with nitrous acid; this salt reacts with the coupling component to form a dye, many of which are used as direct and disperse colorants. These dyes can be generated directly on the fabric. The process in which the fabric is first treated with a solution of the coupling component and then placed in a solution of the diazonium salt to form the dye on the fabric was patented in 1880. Alternatively, the fabric can be treated with a solution of the diazo component before diazotization, followed by immersion in a solution of the coupling component; this process was patented in 1887. These are ingrain dyeing methods. Because many azo dyes are substituted anilines, they can be transformed to ingrain dyes for improved fastness after application as direct or, in some cases, disperse dyes to cotton and acetate rayon, respectively.

Reactive dyeing (reactive dye)
      Reactive dyeing directly links the colorant to the fibre by formation of a covalent bond. For years, the idea of achieving high wet fastness for dyed cotton by this method was recognized, but early attempts employed conditions so drastic that partial degradation of the fibres occurred. Studies at a Swiss dyeing company called Ciba in the 1920s gave promising results with wool using colorants having monochlorotriazine groups. (Triazines are heterocyclic rings containing three carbons and three nitrogens within the ring.) However, there was little incentive for further development because the available dyes were satisfactory. These new dyes, however, were sold as direct dyes for many years without recognition of their potential utility as dyes for cotton.

      In 1953 British chemists Ian Rattee and William Stephen at ICI in London found that dyes with dichlorotriazinyl groups dyed cotton under mild alkaline conditions with no fibre degradation. Thus, a major breakthrough for the dye industry was made in 1956 when ICI introduced their Procion MX dyes—reactive dyes anchored to the fibre by covalent bonds—100 years after the discovery of the first commercial synthetic dye by Perkin. The generation and subsequent bonding of these three new dyes (a yellow, a red, and a blue) with fibres has a common basis, namely, the reactivity of chlorine on a triazine ring. It is readily displaced by the oxygen and nitrogen of −OH and −NH2 groups. Reaction of a dye bearing an amino group with cyanuryl chloride links the two through nitrogen to form the reactive dye. A second chlorine is displaced (in the dyeing step) by reaction with a hydroxyl group of cotton or an amino group in wool. A key feature of cyanuryl chloride is the relative reactivity of the chlorines: only one chlorine reacts at 0–5 °C (32–41 °F), the second reacts at 35–50 °C (95–122 °F), and the third reacts at 80–85 °C (176–185 °F). These differences were exploited in the development of series of related reactive dyes.

      The introduction of the Procion MX dyes triggered vigorous activity at other companies. At the German company Hoechst Aktiengesellschaft, a different approach had been under study, and in 1958 they introduced their Remazol dyes. These dyes are the sulfate esters of hydroxyethylsulfonyl dyes, which, on treatment with mild base, generate the vinylsulfone group. This group, in turn, reacts with cellulose to form a unique dye-fibre bond.

      In the Procion T series, marketed by ICI in 1979, particularly for dyeing cotton in polyester and cotton blends by the Thermosol process (see above Disperse dyeing (dye)), the reactive dye is bonded through a phosphonate ester. The introduction of reactive dyeing not only provided a technique to overcome inadequacies of the traditional methods for dyeing cotton but also vastly increased the array of colours and dye types that could be used for cotton, since almost any chromogen can be converted to a reactive dye.

Classifications of dyes
      Different dyes are required to colour the five major types of fibres, but the fact that thousands of dyes are in use may seem excessive. Other factors beyond the basic differences in the five types of fibre structures contribute to problems a dyer encounters. Fabrics made from blends of different fibres are common (65/35 and 50/50 PET/cotton, 40/40/20 PET/rayon/wool, etc.), and there is enormous diversity in the intended end uses of the dyed fabrics.

      Dyes can be classified by chemical structure or by area and method of application because the chemical class does not generally restrict a given dye to a single coloristic group. Commercial colorants include both dyes and pigments (pigment), groupings distinguishable by their mode of application. In contrast to dyes, pigments are practically insoluble in the application medium and have no affinity for the materials to which these are applied. The distinction between dyes and pigments is somewhat hazy, however, since organic pigments are closely related structurally to dyes, and there are dyes that become pigments after application (e.g., vat dyes).

      The vast array of commercial colorants is classified in terms of structure, method of application, and colour in the Colour Index (C.I.), which is edited by the Society of Dyers and Colourists and by the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists. The third edition of the index lists more than 8,000 colorants used on a large scale for fibres (fibre), plastics (plastic), printing inks (ink), paints (paint), and liquids. In part 1, colorants are listed by generic name in classes (e.g., acidic, basic, mordant, disperse, direct, etc.) and are subdivided by colour. Information on application methods, usage, and other technical data such as fastness properties are included. Part 2 provides the chemical structures and methods of manufacture, and part 3 lists manufacturers' names and an index of the generic and commercial names. Another edition of the Colour Index, Fourth Edition Online, contains information on pigments and solvent dyes (11,000 products under 800 C.I. classifications) not published in other parts of the Colour Index.

      The Colour Index provides a valuable aid with which to penetrate the nomenclature jungle. Hundreds of dyes were well known before the first edition of the Colour Index was published in 1924, and their original or classical names are still in wide use. The classical and commercial names for a specific colorant are included in the Colour Index. Each C.I. generic name covers all colorants with the same structure, but these are not necessarily identical products in terms of crystal structure, particle size, or additive or impurity content. For specific applications, crystal structure can be important for pigments, while particle size is significant for pigments, disperse dyes, and vat dyes. While there are thousands of C.I. generic names, each manufacturer can invent a trade name for a given colorant, and, consequently, there are more than 50,000 names of commercial colorants.

Standardization tests and identification of dyes
      Colourfastness tests are published by the International Organization for Standardization. For identification purposes, the results of systematic reaction sequences and solubility properties permit determination of the class of dye, which, in many cases, may be all that is required. With modern instrumentation, however, a variety of chromatographic and spectroscopic methods can be utilized to establish the full chemical structure of the dye, information that may be essential to identifying coloured material present in very small amounts.

Development of synthetic dyes

Triphenylmethane dyes (triphenylmethane dye)
      Perkin's accidental discovery of mauve as a product of dichromate oxidation of impure aniline motivated chemists to examine oxidations of aniline with an array of reagents. Sometime between 1858 and 1859, French chemist François-Emmanuel Verguin found that reaction of aniline with stannic chloride gave a Fuchsia, or rose-coloured, dye, which he named fuchsine. It was the first of the triphenylmethane dyes and triggered the second phase of the synthetic dye industry. Other reagents were found to give better yields, leading to vigorous patent activity and several legal disputes. Inadvertent addition of excess aniline in a fuchsine preparation resulted in the discovery of aniline blue, a promising new dye, although it had poor water solubility. From the molecular formulas of these dyes, Hofmann showed that aniline blue was fuchsine with three more phenyl groups (−C6H5), but the chemical structures were still unknown. In a careful study, the British chemist Edward Chambers Nicholson showed that pure aniline produced no dye, a fact also discovered at a Ciba plant in Basel, Switzerland, that was forced to close because the aniline imported from France no longer gave satisfactory yields. Hofmann showed that toluidine (CH3C6H4NH2) must be present to produce these dyes. All these dyes, including mauve, were prepared from aniline containing unknown amounts of toluidine.

      Furthermore, all the dyes were found to be mixtures of two major components. The triphenylmethane (triphenylmethane dye) structures were established in 1878 by German chemist Emil Fischer (Fischer, Emil), who showed that the methyl carbon of p-toluidine becomes the central carbon bonded to three aryl groups. Fuchsine was found to be a mixture of pararosaniline, C.I. Basic Red 9, and a homolog having a methyl group (−CH3) ortho to one of the amino groups (−NH2); its classical name is Magenta (C.I. Basic Violet 14). Each nitrogen in aniline blue bears a phenyl group and each in crystal violet is dimethylated. malachite green differs from crystal violet by having one unsubstituted aryl ring. It is not surprising that some of these early synthetic dyes had several different names. For example, malachite green was also known as aniline green, China green, and benzaldehyde green; it is C.I. Basic Green 4 (C.I. 42000) and has more than a dozen other trade names.

      Nicholson had independently discovered aniline blue and found that treatment with sulfuric acid greatly increases its water solubility. This process, in which a sulfonic acid group (−SO3H) is added onto an aryl ring, was found to be applicable to many dyes and became a standard method for enhancing water solubility. Most of the few hundred triarylmethane dyes listed in the Colour Index were synthesized before 1900. In some, one phenyl ring is replaced with a naphthyl group, whose substituents include NH2, OH, SO3Na, COOH, NO2, Cl, and alkyl groups. While most substituents act as auxochromes, sulfonates are present only to increase the solubility of the dye, which is also improved by amino groups, hydrochlorides thereof, and hydroxyl groups. Many vat dyes have quinonoid groups that are reduced to soluble, colourless hydroquinones in the vatting operation and then oxidized back to the original dye. Similar reactions are utilized in the developing process in colour photography (photography, technology of).

Anthraquinone dyes (anthraquinone dye)
 The recognition of carbon's tetravalency (1858) and the structure for benzene (1865) proposed by the German chemist Friedrich August Kekulé (Kekule von Stradonitz, August) led to the structural elucidation of aromatic compounds (aromatic compound) and the rational development of the dye industry. The first example was the elucidation of the alizarin structure in 1868 (see above History of dyes: Natural dyes (dye)), followed a year later by its synthesis. Preparations of derivatives gave a host of anthraquinone dyes (anthraquinone dye) that today constitute the second largest group of commercial colorants. After 1893 sulfonated anthraquinones provided a group of bright, fast dyes for wool; the unsulfonated analogs are disperse dyes for synthetic fibres. In 1901 German chemist Rene Bohn obtained a brilliant blue vat dye with high fastness properties from experiments expected to produce a new substituted indigo. BASF, the leading manufacturer of vat dyes, marketed Bohn's dye as Indanthren Blue RS; it was later given the chemical name indanthrone. Related compounds, used primarily as pigments, span the colour range from blue to yellow.

Xanthene and related dyes
      In 1871 the German chemist Adolph von Baeyer (Baeyer, Adolf von) discovered a new dye class closely related to the triphenylmethane series and also without natural counterparts. Heating phthalic anhydride with resorcinol (1,3-dihydroxybenzene) produced a yellow compound he named fluorescein, because aqueous solutions show an intense fluorescence. Although not useful as a dye, its value as a marker for accidents at sea and as a tracer of underground water flow is well established. Phthalic anhydride and phenol react to give phenolphthalein, which is similar in structure to fluorescein but lacks the oxygen linking two of the aryl rings. Since phenolphthalein is colourless in acid and intensely red in base, it is commonly used as a pH indicator in titrations and also as the active ingredient in mild laxatives, a property said to have been discovered after it was used to enhance the colour of wine. While these compounds lack fastness, some derivatives are useful dyes. Tetrabromofluorescein, or eosin, is a red dye used for paper, inks, and cosmetics; its tetraiodo analog, erythrosine, is a red food dye (see below Food dyes (dye)).

 Many other useful dyes related to these xanthenes also were prepared in the late 1880s. Initially, oxazines and thiazines (thiazine) were used for dyeing silk, but a lack of good lightfastness led to their disappearance from the market. In the 1950s, however, it was found that their lightfastness on acrylic fibres is surprisingly high, and further studies also revealed that triphenylmethane dyes (triphenylmethane dye) such as malachite green behave similarly. This accidental discovery led to their return as industrial products. methylene blue is widely used as a biological stain, as first noted by German medical scientist Paul Ehrlich (Ehrlich, Paul). Its derivative with a nitro group ortho to sulfur is methylene green, which has excellent lightfastness on acrylics. Some thiazines—namely, those with X = NR but lacking the −N(CH3)2 groups—are antihistamines (antihistamine). A number of oxazines and acridines are good leather dyes. Mauve is an azine but is of only historical interest; only one example of this class, Safranine T, is used.

      The oldest, most commonly used acid-base indicator, litmus, is a mixture of several oxazine derivatives, obtained by treating various species of lichens (lichen) with ammonia, potash, and lime. Archil, orchil, and orseille are similar mixtures of dyes, obtained from lichens by different methods; cudbear is the common name for the lichen Ochrolechia tartarea and the dye therefrom.

Azo dyes (azo dye)
       nitrous acid (HONO) was one of the reagents tried in the early experiments with aniline, and in 1858 the German chemist Johann Peter Griess obtained a yellow compound with dye properties. Although used only briefly commercially, this dye sparked interest in the reaction that became the most important process in the synthetic dye industry. The reaction between nitrous acid and an arylamine yields a highly reactive intermediate; the reaction of this intermediate with phenols (phenol) and aryl amines is the key step in the synthesis of more than 50 percent of the commercial dyes produced today.

      The chemistry involved in these reactions was unclear until 1866, when Kekulé proposed correctly that the products have aryl rings linked through a −N=N− unit, called an azo group; hence, the dyes containing this functional group are termed the azo dyes (azo dye). The reaction of nitrous acid with Ar−NH2 (where Ar represents an aryl group) gives Ar−NN+, an aryldiazonium ion, which readily couples with anilines or phenols to furnish azo compounds (azo compound). An early commercial success was chrysoidine, which had been synthesized by coupling aniline to m-phenylenediamine; it was the first azo dye for wool and has been in use since 1875.

      Diazotization of both amino groups of m-phenylenediamine followed by coupling with more of the diamine gives Bismark brown, a major component in the first successful disazo dye—i.e., a dye with two azo groups. In 1884 a conjugated disazo dye, Congo red, made by coupling 4-sulfo-1-naphthylamine with bisdiazotized benzidine, was found to dye cotton by simple immersion of the fabric in a hot aqueous bath of the dye. Congo red was the first dye to be known as a direct dye; today it is used as a pH indicator.

      Until the 1970s derivatives from methyl- or methoxyl-substituted benzidines (benzidine) constituted the major group of disazo dyes, but they are no longer produced in many countries because they are carcinogens (carcinogen).

      The discovery of the azo dyes led to the development of ingrain dyeing, whereby the dye is synthesized within the fabric (see above Dyeing techniques: Azo dyeing techniques (dye)). Since the process was done at ice temperature, some dyes were called ice colours. In 1912 it was found that 2-hydroxy-3-naphthanilide (Naphtol AS, from the German Naphtol Anilid Säure) forms a water-soluble anion with affinity for cotton, a major step in the development of the ingrain dyes. Its reaction with unsulfonated azoic diazo components on the fabric gives insoluble dyes with good wetfastness; with Diazo Component 13, Fast Scarlet R is formed, a member of the Naphtol AS series.

      Many arylamides have been employed as coupling components, but Naphtol AS is the most important. Since the dye is formed in the dyeing process, the coupler and the diazonium component—as a free base or diazonium salt—are supplied to dyers. More than 100 of each are listed in the Colour Index, so the number of possible combinations is great, but the number of those known to give useful colorants with adequate fastness is much smaller. Many are insoluble in water and can be utilized as pigments (pigment).

      The −OH and −NH2 groups direct the coupling to the ortho and para sites, and the directive effects are pH-dependent. In alkaline media, coupling is directed by the −OH groups, whereas −NH2 groups direct in weakly acidic media. H-acid (8-amino-1-naphthol-3,6-disulfonic acid) has both functional groups and can be selectively coupled to two diazo components in a two-step process. C.I. Acid Black 1 is formed by coupling first to diazotized p-nitroaniline in weakly acidic solution and then to diazotized aniline in alkaline solution.

      Azo dyes became the most important commercial colorants because of their wide colour range, good fastness properties, and tinctorial strength (colour density), which is twice that of the anthraquinones, the second most important group of dyes. Azo dyes are easily prepared from many readily available, inexpensive compounds and meet the demands of a wide range of end uses. Cost advantages tend to offset the fact that these are less brilliant and less lightfast than the anthraquinones.

Reactive dyes (reactive dye)
      The first examples of reactive dyes utilized monoazo systems for bright yellow and red shades. Coupling aniline to H-acid gave the azo dye used in the first Procion Red (C.I. Reactive Red 1), and anthraquinone dyes were used to obtain bright blue shades. An early example in the Remazol series is Remazol Brilliant Blue R (C.I. Reactive Blue 19).

      Dichlorotriazinyl dyes are produced by more than 30 dye manufacturers, since the early patents on these dyes have expired. Replacement of one of the chlorines in a dichloro-s-triazinyl dye (e.g., C.I. Reactive Red 1) with a noncoloured group results in dye series (Procion H and Procion P) that can be applied at 800 °C (1,470 °F). These are analogous to the direct dyes Ciba produced in the 1920s and reintroduced in the late 1950s as Cibacron reactive dyes. Alternatively, the second chlorine can be replaced with another dye. In such cases, the triazinyl grouping acts as a chromophoric block, a feature that Ciba utilized in the 1920s to produce direct green dyes by the sequential attachment of blue and yellow chromogens.

      In practice, all of the dye is not transferred to the fabric. Reaction with water ( hydrolysis) in the dyebath competes with the dyeing reaction to reduce the level of fixation (transfer of the dye to the fabric), which can vary from 30–90 percent. Considerable effort has been directed toward achieving 100 percent fixation, which has led to the introduction of dyes having two reactive groups—for example, Procion Red H-E3B (C.I. Reactive Red 120), Remazol Black B (C.I. Reactive Black 5), and Remazol Brilliant Red FG (C.I. Reactive Red 227). The azo-dye moiety in each is derived from H-acid.

      Although azo chromogens are most commonly used (about 80 percent of the time), reactive dyes can contain almost any chromogen; thus, a vast array of colours is available. With the introduction of reactive dyes, cotton could finally be dyed in bright shades with monoazo dyes for yellows to reds, anthraquinones for blues, and copper phthalocyanines for bright turquoise colours.

Phthalocyanine compounds
      Phthalocyanines, the most important chromogens developed in the 20th century, were introduced in 1934. They are analogs of two natural porphyrins (porphyrin): chlorophyll and hemoglobin. Phthalocyanine was discovered in 1907 and its copper salt in 1927, but their potential as colorants was not immediately recognized. Identification of a brilliant blue impurity in an industrial preparation of phthalimide by ICI awakened interest among chemists. Phthalocyanines became commercially available in the 1930s, with the parent compound and its copper complex marketed as Monastral Fast Blue B and Monastral Fast Blue G, respectively.

      Of several known metal complexes, copper phthalocyanine (CuPc) is the most important. Although it is used mainly as a pigment, it can be formed directly on cotton. Although not useful for PET and acrylics (acrylic compound), some complexes are utilized with nylon. Halogenation of the benzene rings alters the shade to bluish-green and green. In an important phthalocyanine, Monastral Fast Green G (C.I. Pigment Green 7), all 16 hydrogens (hydrogen) on the four benzo rings are replaced with chlorine. Water-soluble analogs for use as dyes were developed later by the introduction of sulfonic acid groups. Disulfonation of the copper complex gave a direct dye for cotton, Chlorantine Fast Turquoise Blue Gll (C.I. Direct Blue 86), the first commercial phthalocyanine dye. Reaction of sulfonyl derivatives with amines (amine) yield organic-soluble dyes in wide use in lacquers and inks. Solubilized phthalocyanine reactive dyes are used for bright turquoise shades that cannot be obtained with either azo or anthraquinone chromogens. After treatment of the tetrasulfonyl derivative with one equivalent of a diamine, the residual sulfonyl groups are hydrolyzed and the reactive group (e.g., cyanuryl chloride) added. Condensation (condensation reaction) of some of the chlorosulfonyl groups with ammonia before hydrolysis yields dyes with brighter hues (e.g., C.I. Reactive Blue 7).

      These colorants display strong, bright blue to green shades with remarkable chemical stability. Copper phthalocyanine sublimes unchanged at 580 °C (1,076 °F) and dissolves in concentrated sulfuric acid without change. These compounds exhibit excellent lightfastness, and their properties are in striking contrast to those of natural pigments (i.e., hemoglobin and chlorophyll) that are destroyed by intense light or heat and mild chemical reagents. The high stability, strength, and brightness of the phthalocyanines render them cost-effective, illustrated by the wide use of blue and green labels on many products.

Quinacridone compounds
      A second group of pigments developed in the 20th century were the quinacridone compounds. Quinacridone itself was introduced in 1958. Its seven crystalline forms range in colour from yellowish-red to violet; the violet β and red γ forms are used as pigments, both classified as C.I. Pigment Violet 19.

      The dichloro and dimethyl analogs, substituted on each outer ring, are commercial pink and bluish-red pigments.

Fluorescent brighteners
      Raw natural fibres, paper, and plastics tend to appear yellowish because of weak light absorption near 400 nm by certain peptides (peptide) and natural pigments in wool and silk, by natural flavonoid dyes in cellulose, and by minor decomposition products in plastics. Although bleaching can reduce this tinting, it must be mild to avoid degradation of the material. A bluing agent can mask the yellowish tint to make the material appear whiter, or the material can be treated with a fluorescent compound that absorbs ultraviolet light and weakly emits blue visible light. These compounds, also called “optical brighteners,” are not dyes in the usual sense and, in fact, were introduced in 1927 by banknote printers to protect against forgery. Today, however, the major industrial applications are as textile finishers, pulp and paper brighteners, and additives for detergents and synthetic polymers (polymer). Many of these fluorescent brighteners contain triazinyl units and water-solubilizing groups, as, for example, Blankophor B, shown here:

Food dyes (food colouring)
      Upon their discovery, synthetic dyes rapidly replaced many metallic compounds used to colour foods. The advantages of synthetic dyes over natural colorants—such as brightness, stability, colour range, and lower cost—were quickly appreciated, but the recognition of some potentially hazardous effects was slower. Opinion remains widely divided on this issue, since few countries agree on which dyes are safe. For example, no food dyes are used in Norway and Sweden, whereas 16 are approved in the United Kingdom, although some of these dyes have been linked with adverse health effects. Dozens were used in the United States prior to 1906, when a limit of seven was set. This number had increased to 15 by 1938—with certification of purity required by law—and to 19 in 1950. Today, seven are certified, including erythrosine (tetraiodofluorescein), indigotine (5,5′-disulfonatoindigo), two triphenylmethanes (Fast Green FCF and Brilliant Blue FCF), and three azo dyes (Sunset Yellow FCF, Allura Red, and Tartrazine).

      The azo dye amaranth was banned in 1976 after a long court battle but is still approved in many countries—including Canada, whose list includes one other azo dye, Ponceau SX, which is banned in the United States.

Dye-industry research
      Since the 1970s the primary aim of colorant research has shifted from the development of new dye structures to optimizing the manufacture of existing dyes, devising more economical application methods, and developing new areas of application, such as liquid crystal displays (liquid crystal display), lasers (laser), solar cells (solar cell), and optical data discs, as well as imaging and other data-recording systems.

J.B. Stothers

Additional Reading

General works
Encyclopaedic coverage of every aspect of the chemical industry is provided by Herman F. Mark et al. (eds.), Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology, 3rd ed., 31 vol. (1978–84), formerly known as Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology, with a 4th edition begun in 1991; Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, 5th, completely rev. ed., edited by Wolfgang Gerhartz et al. (1985– ); and Thorpe's Dictionary of Applied Chemistry, 4th ed., 12 vol. (1937–56).

Authoritative articles on dyes and dyeing from classical antiquity to the present may be found in the journal Ciba Reviews (1937– ). The commemorative volume, Perkin Centenary, London: 100 Years of Synthetic Dyestuffs (1958), contains a chapter on the life and work of Sir William Perkin by J. Read. The article by C. Paine surveys the development of the synthetic-dye-making industry.E.N. Abrahart, Dyes and Their Intermediates (1968); and H.E. Fierz-David and L. Blangey, Fundamental Processes of Dye Chemistry (1949, Eng. trans. from the 5th Austrian ed. of 1943), are textbooks written from the industrial viewpoint.Edward Noah Abrahart Ed.

* * *

Universalium. 2010.


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