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.

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

A novel graphene sensor enables highly sensitive health monitoring

Researchers from the University of Strasbourg & CNRS (France), in collaboration with Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (Poland) and the University of Florence (Italy), have developed a new generation of pressure sensors based on graphene and molecular “springs”. The researchers say that thanks to their highest sensitivity, these devices are ideally suited for health monitoring and point-of-care testing.

Graphene-sensor-matrix-for-health-monitoring-image

The team reports that many electroactive materials have been employed for this purpose. Among these, graphene has been the most studied because of its excellent electrical conductivity, exceptional mechanical properties and large surface area. The researchers rely envision applications of graphene-based sensors in the form of tattoos.

Haydale's graphene inks target the biomedical sensors market for diabetes monitoring

Haydale has announced that through its Taiwanese operation, Haydale Technologies Taiwan, it has started to supply commercial quantities of its functionalized graphene ink to a major print house in Taiwan. The graphene ink is used to print test strips in the self-diagnostic biomedical sensor device market for diabetes monitoring. Haydale believes its graphene ink is the first of its kind being used in volume in this market.

Following over a year of market testing, evaluation and gaining regulatory approvals, including extensive production quantity in-line testing, HTW has now started to deliver its graphene screen printed inks as part of a recent 100kg order secured from a leading Taiwanese printer. Haydale's graphene ink is reportedly proving to be a high quality, more stable, and consistent product, replacing the established graphite and carbon inks used extensively in producing the test strips for this significant global market.

The Graphene Handbook

GEIC to join Haydale's collaboration to develop graphene enhanced failsafe locking solution

Haydale logoIn February 2018, Haydale, the University of Swansea and Wheelsure entered a collaboration to develop intelligent systems for transport and industrial applications using Haydale's graphene ink sensor technology, in order to extend Wheelsure's product range. Now, Haydale has confirmed that The University of Manchester's Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre ("GEIC") is set to join this collaboration.

The project aims to develop an intelligent new product pairing Haydale's functionalized graphene sensor technology with Wheelsure's failsafe locking solution. The sensor will be developed by applications engineers at the GEIC using Haydale's functionalised graphene. The project is expected to be showcased at the official opening of the GEIC in December 2018.

Haydale enters agreement with Star RFID to develop graphene and silver inks

Haydale logoHaydale has announced the signing of a Joint Development Agreement ("JDA") between Haydale Technologies (Thailand) Limited ("HTT") and Thailand's Star RFID ("Star"). The JDA is for the parties to quickly co-develop both graphene and silver-based inks for the printed Radio Frequency Identification market ("RFID"). The co-development is expected to lead to a supply and collaboration agreement in the coming months.

The parties have already commenced development of a dedicated silver ink for Star and have a small paid-for project to carry out this work. Star has first right of refusal for any products arising from the JDA.

Bionic mushroom interacts with bacteria and graphene to generate electricity

In a recent study, researchers from the Stevens Institute of Technology in the U.S have come up with an original idea - they designed a bionic mushroom that uses graphene to produce electricity. More accurately, the researchers have generated mushrooms patterned with energy-producing bacteria and an electrode network.

Bionic mushroom generates electricity image

Many examples of organisms that live closely together and interact with each other exist in nature. In some cases, this symbiotic relationship is mutually beneficial. The research team wanted to engineer an artificial symbiosis between button mushrooms and cyanobacteria. In their vision, the mushroom would provide shelter, moisture and nutrients, while bacteria 3D-printed on the mushroom's cap would supply energy by photosynthesis. Graphene nanoribbons printed alongside the bacteria could capture electrons released by the microbes during photosynthesis, producing bio-electricity.