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.

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.

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

Nanotech Energy to build new campus to expand manufacturing capabilities of graphene batteries

U.S-based graphene batteries developer Nanotech Energy is reportedly planning to expand its facilities and develop a 517-acre campus within the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center. The first building is slated to open in Q4 2022.

The high-volume facility will significantly increase Nanotech Energy’s manufacturing capacity to produce and scale its patented, non-flammable Graphene-Organolyte™ batteries and other graphene-powered products, including EMI (electromagnetic interference) shielding, transparent conducting electrodes, conductive inks, conductive adhesives and silver nanowires.

Read the full story Posted: Nov 11,2021

Swinburne startup 'SensFit' uses graphene-enhanced shoe sensors to detect health issues

A new Swinburne-led startup, SensFit Technologies, has developed a smart shoe with inbuilt sensors, aiming to improve the quality of life of older people through the early detection of dementia, diabetic ulcers and other physical activity issues.

Swinburne startup uses smart shoe sensors to detect health issues imageUnique sensor technology takes readings from the soles of the shoes. Image from Swinburne website

The unique technology is based on 87 smart sensors bonded with an innovative graphene ink that is embedded in the soles of a shoe. It was developed by startup co-founders Professor Franz Konstantin Fuss, a medical technologies researcher, and Dr. Nishar Hameed, whose research focuses on developing innovative technologies from advanced composite materials.

Read the full story Posted: Sep 09,2021

Sportswear enhanced with Versarien's graphene inks to be tested by the University of Gloucestershire

Versarien recently commissioned the University of Gloucestershire to carry out trials on its graphene-coated sportswear.

Graphene sportswear gets Gloucestershire Uni testing imageImage from article

A research team is to carry out tests on a prototype upper body garment, applied with Versarien's graphene inks ("Graphinks") through a screen-printing process. The clothing is manufactured by partner MAS Holdings. The researchers will compare the material to a selection of other sports garments when worn during high-intensity exercise.

Read the full story Posted: Sep 01,2021

Haydale's graphene inks used in garments worn by British athletes at the Tokyo Olympic Games

Haydale has announced that, following its announcement of positive prototype testing on 3rd March 2020, its range of advanced wearable technology - integrated into garments for elite athletes - was used in Tokyo by British athletes, including top medal winning athletes.

The garments generate heat using Haydale's printed functionalized graphene ink and incorporate electronic circuitry to produce temperature regulated panels. The plan is to use them at future international competitions, and subsequently to make them available commercially to other professional sports.

Read the full story Posted: Aug 20,2021

Researchers develop graphene aerosol gel inks for printing micro-supercapacitors

Researchers from Kansas State University, led by Suprem Das, assistant professor of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering, in collaboration with Christopher Sorensen, university distinguished professor of physics, have shown potential ways to manufacture graphene-based nano-inks for additive manufacturing of supercapacitors in the form of flexible and printable electronics.

The team’s work could be adapted to integrate supercapacitors to overcome the slow-charging processes of batteries. Furthermore, Das has been developing additive manufacturing of small supercapacitors — called micro-supercapacitors — so that one day they could be used for wafer-scale integration in silicon processing.

Read the full story Posted: Jul 30,2021

AMD to fund £2 Million of research into sustainable nanomaterial tech at Sussex university

Advanced Material Development (AMD) will fund £2 million of research by the University of Sussex to develop nanomaterial technologies for environmentally sustainable uses. This funding will pay for five researchers to work on developments for the next three years.

Professor Alan Dalton, who leads the university’s Materials Physics Group and is a and co-founder of AMD, said: We’re on the cusp of taking a number of our inventions out of the lab and to market, and this significant new boost from AMD means we can recruit the team we need to make the next step... The company has exciting collaborations with Marks and Spencer, Honeywell and many other global companies lined up. The potential applications for nanomaterial inks are boundless.

Read the full story Posted: Jul 03,2021

AMD and First graphene to collaborate on development of graphene inks and coatings

Advanced Material Development (AMD) and First Graphene have agreed to collaborate on the ongoing development of AMD’s conductive inks and other graphene enabled coatings.

Under a binding memorandum of understanding (MoU), AMD will provide expertise in the design and development of functional nanomaterials and hierarchical assembly of material systems, while First Graphene delivers capabilities in the development, manufacture and supply of its graphene nanoplatelets, branded PureGraph.

Read the full story Posted: Jun 18,2021

Duke team creates fully recyclable printed electronics

Researchers at Duke University have created transistors with three carbon-based inks. The all-carbon thin-film transistors were made using crystalline nanocellulose as a dielectric, carbon nanotubes as a semiconductor, graphene as a conductor and paper as a substrate. This type of component could assist in addressing the environmental problem of accumulation of electronics that are non-recyclable.

Silicon-based computer components are probably never going away and we don’t expect easily recyclable electronics like ours to replace the technology and devices that are already widely used, said Professor Aaron Franklin, an electrical engineer at Duke University. But we hope that by creating new, fully recyclable, easily printed electronics and showing what they can do, that they might become widely used in future applications.

Read the full story Posted: Apr 28,2021

University at Buffalo team 3D prints graphene aerogels for water treatment

University at Buffalo (UB) researchers have developed a novel 3D printed water-purifying graphene aerogel that could be scaled for use at large wastewater treatment plants.

UB's 3D printed ultra-light G-PDA-BSA aerogel imageUB's 3D printed ultra-light G-PDA-BSA aerogel. Image credit: UB and 3dprintingindustry.com

Composed of aerogel graphene and two bio-inspired polymers, the novel material is reportedly capable of removing dyes, metals and organic solvents from drinking water with 100% efficiency. Unlike similar nanosheets, the scientists’ design is reusable, doesn’t leave residue and can be 3D printed into larger sizes. The team now plans to commercialize its design for industrial-scale deployment.

Read the full story Posted: Apr 17,2021

AMD signs LOI with Marks and Spencer for graphene-based ink tech for RFID

Advanced Material Development (AMD) has announced that it has signed a Letter of Intent with Marks and Spencer to further its work on the development of a green and sustainable RFID solution for the apparel and packaging industry.

AMD stated that it has made substantial progress on the use of its graphene based conductive ink technology to replace the aluminium and plastic materials that are incumbent in the ever-growing RFID applications industry. This has opened up opportunities in this sector for applications ranging from green to flexible solutions in a number of key markets.

Read the full story Posted: Dec 22,2020