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What Is a Pigment?

Pigments are molecules that make up the colors of all objects. Plants, animals and minerals have been used to color objects since ancient times.

Giving color to all beings in the ecosystem, pigment molecules interact with all light sources, especially the sun, and exchange energy. Color molecules need a light source to be triggered.

Pigments, which are widely used in a range of industries, including but not limited to, textile, medicine, food, cosmetics, paint, ink, photography and paper, are also used as colorants in the plastics industry.

Based on their composition, pigments are divided into two: Organic and Inorganic. In addition to these two types of pigments, there are also Solvent Dyes and Effect Pigments that are used as dyestuffs.

Organic Pigments: These are the pigments that contain carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen in their chemical composition. Organic pigments are composed of mineral compounds and are present in soils and rocks. The manufacturing process consists of washing, drying, pulverizing and combining into a formulation. While this pigment type that has been used for coloring purposes for centuries has bright and high dyeing capability, it is weaker than inorganic pigments in terms of heat and light resistance.

Inorganic Pigments: As referred from their name, these types of pigments are exactly the opposite of organic pigments and consist of oxides of non-ferrous metals or metal salts that are insoluble in some metals. These are Carbon black and metal oxides or salts, such as iron, titanium, barium, zinc, cadmium and lead. Inorganic pigments are produced using petrochemical or natural resources. They have a range of properties, such as high color resistance, heat and light stability, opacity, weather and chemical resistance, and resistance to substrates. Inorganic pigments are more durable than organic pigments. Additionally, they can withstand exposure to chemicals and sunlight longer since they contain mineral compounds.

Solvent Dyes: These are soluble dyestuffs. Due to their solubility, they provide highly saturated and opaque shades. They are highly resistant to heat, color and UV lights.

While Solvent Dye products have a limited general area of use due to their incompatibility with polyolefins, they are very commonly used in engineering plastics.

Effect Pigments: These are pigments that produce eye-catching glitters to render objects more appealing as well as coloring them. The glittering appearance is mainly caused by their crystal structure reflecting the incoming light from different angles. Metallic, Pearlescent, Fluorescent and Glitter Effect pigments are mostly used in the plastics industry.

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