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What is ink?

Ink is a mixture of ingredients formulated to create a substance containing pigments or dyes that is used to color a surface. Inks usually come in liquid or paste form, and can be divided into four general classes of aqueous, liquid, paste and powder.

Inks photo



Most inks contain four basic components: colorants (that grant color and opacity), binders (mostly resins that serve to hold together other components), additives (like wax or chalk, used to grant specific traits) and carrier substances (like oils, which allow the ink to flow, spread and transfer). The ink industry is valued at over $10 billion as ink is somewhat ubiquitous and found in writing paraphernalia and print (including newspapers and books).

What are the common types of ink?

Inks are roughly divided into printing inks and writing inks. Writing inks, like the ones found in pens, started out using water-based dye systems and evolved into paste oil-based dyes that improve ink flow, and are generally more non smearing and quicker to dry than water-based systems.

Printing inks are categorized in two groups: inks for conventional printing (using a mechanical plate that transfers an image to the printed object) and inks for non-impact printing like ink-jet and electrophotographic technologies.

Conductive inks

Conductive inks contain components that provide the function of conductivity. Such components may be comprised of silver, carbon, graphite, or other precious metal coated base material. Common conductive inks can be classified into three categories: noble metals, conductive polymers, and carbon nanomaterials. Conductive inks can be used in various ways, including screen printing, flexographic or rotogravure, spray, dip, and more. A selection of conductive inks are offered on the market, to meet the demands of many applications: electronics, sensors, antennae, touch screens, printed heaters and more.

What is graphene?

Graphene is the thinnest and strongest material known to man. It is also an excellent electrical and heat conductor that has unique optical properties. Graphene is a 2D material made of carbon atoms, arranged in a honeycomb lattice. Its myriad qualities make graphene worthy of the title “wonder material”, with endless potential for all sorts of applications from membranes to electronics.

3D Graphene render

Graphene inks

Carbon nanomaterials offer many possibilities for printed and flexible electronics. The electrical properties of carbon nanotubes and graphene are particularly promising, and have been exploited in a number of applications from thin-film transistors (TFTs) and electrochemical sensors to supercapacitors and photovoltaics. Due to its high charge carrier mobility, superlative thermal and chemical stability and intrinsic flexibility, graphene has been demonstrated for a number of applications in printed electronics including chemical and thermal sensors, supercapacitors and more.

Vorbeck Materials Vor-Ink photo

Graphene inks expand the possibilities for applications such as printed electronics, packaging and electronics, but often need to be specially formulated or adjusted for specific uses, like unique substrates or processing/printing methods (rotogravure, flexo, or screen printing processes etc.) as demands vary for the different uses. Screen printing, for example, usually requires optimal coverage capability while flexographic printing warrants rapid drying.

The graphene inks market

The graphene market can be a confusing one. While there are some companies that sell graphene inks, like Haydale and Vorbeck Materials, many other companies are involved in different aspects of the market. For example, Angstron Materials do not sell graphene inks but offer graphene nanoplatelets (GNPs) that can be dispersed in solvent to create graphene ink of sorts. Other companies are in various stages of developing graphene inks and accessory products. Graphene 3D printing can be done by using a liquid similar to ink, yet it is different than the inks that are used for other applications.

If you’re interested in graphene inks and wish to find the one suitable for your needs, contact Graphene-info - the graphene experts. We use our unique market familiarity and understanding to assist you in finding exactly what you are looking for.

Further reading

Latest Graphene Ink news

Scientists use graphene ink to create conductive cotton textiles

Nov 28, 2016

Researchers at the University of Cambridge in the UK and Jiangnan University in China have designed a low-cost, sustainable and environmentally-friendly method for making conductive cotton textiles using graphene-based ink. These fabrics could lead to smart textiles and interactive clothes that will find applications in healthcare, wearables, Internet of Things and more.

The team created inks of chemically modified graphene flakes that are more adhesive to cotton fibers than unmodified graphene. Heat treatment after depositing the ink on the fabric improves the conductivity of the modified graphene. The adhesion of the modified graphene to the cotton fiber is similar to the way cotton holds colored dyes and allows the fabric to remain conductive after several washes.

Impressions from a visit to Haydale

Nov 17, 2016

A couple of weeks ago we visited Haydale's headquarters and production floor in Ammanford, Wales, UK. Here are our impressions following this visit, the meeting with Haydale's management and a visit to the production floor and processing rooms.

First of all, let's clear up a common misunderstanding: Haydale is not a graphene producer. It buys graphene materials (from several sources) and uses its proprietary plasma process to improve the materials, make them more uniform in quality and tailor them to specific requirements. Haydale then uses these materials to create intermediate materials - inks, coatings, composite materials (and masterbatches) and 3D filaments. Haydale is working with customers to take these materials and use them in various graphene-enhanced products.

Graphene Oxide market report

Talga Resources announces that its phase 2 graphene plant commissioning is complete

Sep 28, 2016

Talga Resources logoTalga Resources has announced that commissioning of all stages of the Phase 2 German pilot test facility has been successfully completed.

In April 2016, Talga announced the commissioning of its Phase 2 processing plant in Germany and has now provided further updates. The pilot test plant is currently configured so that approximately 76% of the input graphitic carbon reports to graphene products (FLG and GNP) and the remaining carbon reports to Talga’s building sector (micrographite) products.

Haydale to acquire Thai Graphene inks & composites company

Aug 26, 2016

Haydale logoHaydale recently declared the planned acquisition of Innophene, a Thailand-based graphene-enhanced conductive ink and composites manufacturer, in an all-share deal for approximately £311,665. The acquisition marks a significant step in UK-based Haydale Graphene Industries’ expansion into the Asian market, since Innophene’s access to The Thailand Science Park in Bangkok, with its extensive analytical and processing capabilities, provides a platform for it to become the Group’s Far East Centre of Excellence.

Innophene, founded in 2011, has developed (in conjunction with the Thailand National Science & Technology Development Agency) a one-stage exfoliation/dispersion process to create a range of graphene-enhanced transparent conductive inks for inkjet and other printing platforms. They have also now developed a graphene enhanced PLA (Poly-Lactic Acid) resin (commonly used in medical devices and 3D printing).

Graphene 3D Lab to start selling a new single-layer graphene oxide material

Jul 31, 2016

Graphene 3D Labs logoGraphene 3D Lab announced that it will be selling a new single-layer graphene oxide material under the trade name of “ORG-GO”.

The new material can reportedly be easily dissolved in a variety of organic solvents to achieve ultrahigh concentrations. ORG-GO also boasts outstanding thermal stability. G3L expects that the ORG-GO product line will find numerous applications such as being a reinforcement for polymers and nanocomposites as well as for the preparation of high-performance graphene inks and coatings.