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Dye and Fabric Terminology

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Chlorination Of Wool
Treatment of wool with chlorine compounds to alter the surface to make the wool less prone to shrinkage in washing and to improve dye uptake. Chlorination, sometimes alone and sometime with subsequent application of special polymers, alters the surface of wool so that the scales are largely prevented from causing the "ratcheting" action that makes the motion of one strand of wool "one way" with respect to others whose scales point in the opposite direction. By preventing this ratcheting, wool fabric is much less likely to shrink when laundered. Chlorination also improves dye uptake in printing processes, but at the expense of wash fastness. Chlorination is typically done using organic chlorine compounds, sometimes the same as those used for chlorination of small swimming pools. - Rev 3.0.0a

Chrome Dyes
Dyes for wool that use chromium compounds as mordants. These dyes are part of the broader category of mordant dyes for wool. - Rev 3.0.0a

The metallic element that forms the basis of a number of compounds often used as mordants, or as part of the molecular structure of pre-metallized dyes. Potassium dichromate is a common mordant chemical. Chromium compounds are toxic and some are carcinogenic. They must be handled with care and understanding of the risks involved. - Rev 3.0.0r

A color-bearing compound, typically meaning the part of a larger organic molecule that makes it appear colored. Dyes typically have a chromophore chemically bonded to other structures that impart desired characteristics such as affinity for the fiber and solubility in water. A particular chromophore structure may be found in a variety of dye classes and in pigments. - Rev3.0.0r

Cibacron® F And FN Dye
A family of reactive dyes developed and manufactured by Ciba Specialty Chemicals. This family of dyes is less reactive than the MX family, and is intended for application typically between 50°Cand 60°C. Industrially, they have some definite merits over the MX family, and there are still new family members being introduced. Unfortunately, they are generally less available to the textile artist, partly due to Ciba’s corporate policies.

Citric Acid
A solid organic acid; HOCCOOH(CH COOH) (or C H O ); 2-hydroxy-1,2,3-propanetricarboxilic acid 2 2 6 8 7Citric acid is sometimes used in dyeing as an alternative to other chemicals such as acetic acid. It is convenient to store and handle, but may be more expensive. It is a weak acid but can produce pH in the range of 2 to 3. It can act as a sequestering agent for some metals, so it may be inappropriate for some metal-containing dyes such as premetallized dyes. It is used as a resist in some printing processes with reactive dyes on cellulosic fibers, acting by maintaining a pH that prevents the dye from fixing to the fiber. - Rev 3.0.0a

Cloud Point
The temperature at and above which a component will precipitate from solution. Most water soluble compounds become more soluble as temperature is increased, but some, such as non-ionic surfactants become less soluble with rising temperature. The solution will go from clear to cloudy at the cloud point temperature, and the surfactants effectiveness will drop. - Rev 3.0.0r

Color Index
A joint publication of the Society of Dyers and Colorists in Britain and the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists. The Color Index contains information on dye structures, classifications, manufacturers and processes. Many"pure" dyes, that is, dyes which are a single color, rather than a mixture, have Color Index names (for example, the reactive dye Turquoise MX-G is designated in the Color Index as Reactive Blue 140). This name is normally independent of the manufacturer. The Color Index is a multi-volume publication, priced at about one thousand US dollars (late 2000). - Rev 3.0.0r

Copper Sulfate
CuSO ; also called copper (II) sulfate (read copper two sulfate) or cupric sulfate 4A copper compound sometimes used as a mordant, especially with natural dyes. Certain direct dyes are made more lightfast by after-dyeing treatment with copper sulfate. - Rev 3.0.0r

Covalent Bond
A chemical bond where a pair of electrons is are shared relatively equally between two atoms in the compound. Covalent bonds are formed between the fibers and reactive dyes. These are the strongest type of chemical bond, and are responsible for the excellent washfastness of reactive dyes. - Rev 3.0.0r

Cream Of Tartar
See potassium bitartrate

Transfer of color from dyed or pigmented fabric by rubbing. Wet crocking refers to transfer of color from a piece of dyed fabric to another piece of fabric, or to an undyed area of the same fabric, while the fabric is wet. Dry crocking means the same, except that the fabric is dry.

A greenish blue color. Cyan is "officially" the subtractive primary. It is the bluish color that is used in most printing processes, such as computer inkjet printing. The blue color that appears in those little colored squares that are sometimes found near the fold on advertising flyers, or on the bottom or flap of printed packages is cyan, or at least, cyan as approximated by the printing ink used. In the popular MX reactive dye family, Turquoise MX-G is a very good cyan.

Removal of fibrils from the surface of a fabric. Individual fibers can become partially separated from the yarns that make up a fabric, poking up and degrading the appearance of the fabric. Fibrillation can result from long wet processing, especially if agitation is vigorous. With cellulose fibers, cellulase enzymes are now commonly used to remove fibrils from dyed garments.

As a measure of physical properties of a substance, the ratio of the mass (weight) of the substance to itsvolume. Knowing the density of something makes it possible to reasonably approximate a required weight of the substance by measuring volume, which is often more convenient. For example, fine granulated salt may have a density of about 1.25 grams per cubic centimeter.

Depth Of Shade
Ratio of weight of dye to weight of goods dyed, usually expressed as percentage; amount of dye owg. Depth of shade (DOS), in these terms, is not really a very good way of comparing the darkness or intensity of color of finished fabrics, due to inherent differences in the hues of different dyes within a family, differences between dye families, and differences due to the nature of the fabric. Dye manufacturers’ shade cards are typically show one or two depths of shade for a particular dye, often between 1% and 4%, except for black, which is typically3% to 6%.

Removal of size from fabric. Desizing is an important step prior to dyeing fabric, since size can interfere with dye uptake. Some size materials wash out easily. Starch is commonly used for size, and can be quite difficult to remove. Amylase enzymes are often used industrially for starch removal. Some sizes can be readily removed by hot water washing. - Rev3.0.0r

A technique for "sculpting" fabric using etchants or burn-out paste

A modified starch. Dextrin is used as a thickener for some textile printing processes, and as a resist for some direct application dyeing techniques (it generally isn’t usable for immersion dyeing because it washes off too easily). It is made by partially breaking down starch to smaller molecules using acids and/or heat. There are several different dextrins with different properties. Dextrin may also called BrIt ish gum, but some workers regard them as distinct.

A solid or liquid chemical used to dilute another. Sodium sulfate is a common diluent for dry dyes. Since the manufacturing of dyes does not always result inexactly the same strength of dye from batch to batch, manufactures routinely add a diluent to adjust the batch to a standardized strength. Diluents may make up a large portion of dyes designed to yield pale shades. For example, a dye that yields dark red at 2% o.w.g. may be diluted to yield a pale pink using 2% o.w.g. of the diluted dye. Diluting dry dyes in the way is done primarily as a convenience to the dyer.

Direct Application
Usually used to mean a method where a dye solution is locally applied to areas of fabric, such as by painting, squirting, spraying, stamping, etc.

Direct Dye
A dye class based on application method, which is essentially by immersion of the fiber in a solution of dye without the need for other chemicals to bond the dye to the fiber (though other chemicals may aid exhaustion)Direct dyes have high substantivity, but bond weakly to fibers, and therefore usually have poor washfastness. Lightfastness varies from poor to very good. A post-dyeing fixative is often used to improve washfastness. Brightness can be limited in direct dyes, because brightness often is associated with small molecules and small molecules tend to make poor direct dyes. "Household" dyes, of the sort that are sold in grocery stores, typically are union dyes which contain a direct dye and an acid dye. - Rev 3.0.0r

Localized removal of dye from fabric. Discharge is used to remove dye from fabric in printing and similar processes. Often another illuminating dye is applied to the area that is discharged. Sometimes the new color is included in the discharge paste. Some dyes are quite easy to discharge, others are very difficult to discharge. This can be the case even within a single dye family.(Commercially dyed black fabric is notorious for producing unpredictable results in discharge. This is because most black dyes are mixtures of several colors.) Industrial discharge processes use reducing agents such as thioureadioxide, sodium formaldehyde sulfoxylate, zinc formaldehyde sulfoxylate or tin chloride. Art dyers will often use household chlorine bleach for discharge techniques (this author knows of no commercial use of chlorine bleach for discharge). Some discharge techniques decolorize the dye but leave remnants fixed to the fiber, while others break the bond between the dye and the fiber. - Rev 3.0.0r

Disperse Dye
A dye that is almost totally insoluble in water. Disperse dyes exist in the dye bath as a suspension or dispersion of microscopic particles, with only a tiny amount in true solution at any time. They are the only dyes that are effective for "normal" polyester. Some types are used for nylon and acetate. Polyester is dyed with disperse dyes by boiling with carrier chemicals, or by heating the liquor to about 130°C, which requires elevated pressure (like a pressure cooker). Thermosol dyeing, where the fabric is padded with dye liquor then dried and heated to about 200°C for about 90 seconds, is also used for polyester and for coloring the polyester component of poly-cotton blends. Disperse dyes on polyester are generally very washfast and resistant to bleaching. Nylon can be dyed at or below 100°C without the use of a carrier, but washfastness is only moderate. Disperse dyes are also used for sublimation printing of synthetic fibers, and are thecolorant used in crayons and inks sold for making "iron-on" transfers. - Rev3.0.0r

Depth of shade - Rev 2.0.0a

In textile terms, a soluble colorant that attaches in molecular form to the fibers, as opposed to a pigment, which exists as much large particles that are attached to the fiber with a binder. Dyes get classified by the application technique used, and by their chemical structure. A class of dye based on chemical structure may have members in several different application classes. See acid dye, azoic dye, basic dye, direct dye, disperse dye, reactive dye, sulfur dye, vat dye. All commercial dyes are organic chemicals.

Dye Activator
One dye seller’s name for an alkali intended for use with reactive dyes; believed to be pure soda ash. This term is somewhat misleading: in the case of most reactive dyes on cellulosic fibers, it is the fiber, not the dye, that is "activated" (an exception to this is vinyl sulfone dyes). - Rev 3.0.0r

Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (read as ‘ethylene diamine tetra-acetic acid') EDTA as the acid form or as various sodium salts, is a powerful sequestering or chelating agent used primarily where metals such as iron or copper are present in water and may interfere with preparation or dyeing processes. It is sometimes used to sequester hardness ions such as calcium and magnesium. EDTA may not be suitable for use with premetallized dyes, since it may be capable of removing the metal from the dye. - Rev 3.0.0a

A substance that makes an electrically conductive solution when it is dissolved in water. Electrolytes dissociate to form ions in solution. Fibers immersed in water develop a negative electrical charge at their surface. Most dyes are anionic, so the fiber tends to repel the dye. The presence of electrolytes in the dye bath helps to overcome this repulsion so that the dye can gain access to the surface of the fiber. The most common electrolyte in dyeing is sodium chloride (common salt). Sodium sulfate is used sometimes. The acids used with acid dyes also behave as electrolytes. - Rev 3.0.0r

A protein that acts as a catalyst in a biochemical reaction. Enzymes are now extensively used in textile processing. Amylase enzymes are used for desizing, and cellulose enzymes are used for modification of cellulosic fabrics such as de-pilling or permanent softening. Enzymes have recently found application is wash-off of fabric dyed with reactive dyes, to conserve energy and water. Most enzymes used in textile processing are produced by fungi or bacteria grown in culture. None are readily available to textile artists. - Rev 3.0.0r

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