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Dye and Fabric Terminology

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Sulfamic Acid
NH SO H 2 3Sulfamic acid, applied to wool typically by printing, followed by baking then steaming, fixes to the wool much like an acid dye. It is colorless and prevents the treated wool from taking up other acid dye, so it is an effective resist. - Rev 3.0.0a

Sulfur Dye
A class of dyes made by reacting sulfur with organic compounds; most are of unknown chemical structure Sulfur dyes are insoluble in water, and must be converted to a soluble form for application. The process is a quite similar to that used for vat dyes. Sulfur dyes are typically inexpensive, but dull in color. They generally have good washfastness, but are sensitive to bleaches. Sulfur dyes on fabric, particularly some blacks, may decompose under warm, humid conditions, forming an acid. This can cause tendering of cellulose fibers, but can generally be prevented by making the finished fabric slightly alkaline. Sulfur dye is often used commercially to produce a good black at low cost on cellulosic fabrics. - Rev 2.0.0r

Sulfuric Acid
H SO ; a very potent inorganic ("mineral") acid; a strong acid 2 4Sulfuric acid is used in some preparation and dyeing process, most often with wool. Concentrated acid will absorb water very rapidly, releasing heat in the process. Skin burns are caused by both this heating and by corrosive action, and can happen within seconds. EXTREME CARE IS ESSENTIAL! See comments under acid regarding mixing. Sodium bisulfate (not bisulfite) can sometimes be used as an alternative.

A class of acid dye. Supermilling acid dyes offer moderate brightness and good to very good washfastness, but have poor to fair leveling tendency. Their leveling characteristics mean that extra care is required in the process to produce level results. There is no clear distinction between milling and supermilling acid dyes. These dyes are used for wool and work well on polyamide (nylon).

Surface active agent. When used in association with dyeing, this term almost invariably refers to a synthetic detergent. Detergents operate at the surface between a solvent (water) and some material that is to be removed from where it is, and made to enter solution or suspension in the solvent. One end of the surfactant molecule is hydrophilic ("likes" water, and the other is hydrophobic ("fears" or water; sometimes lipophilic - oil loving). Surfactants can be synthesized to have specific properties by varying the structure of the hydrophilic and hydrophobic ends. Surfactants are used to scour fibers or fabric, act as wetting agents in dyeing, as retarders in dyeing, and to help remove unfixed dye after dyeing. They may be classified as anionic, non-ionic or cationic. There are even types that can behave as anionic or cationic, depending on conditions. Some fabric softeners are surfactants. There is a vast array of surfactants on the market. - Rev 3.0.0r

Synthetic tanning agent. There are many syntans, and many are proprietary mixtures of chemicals. They are sometimes used as post-dyeing treatments for wool or nylon to increase washfastness. - Rev 3.0.0a

T.S.P. (or TSP)
Na PO , trisodium phosphate; also called "sodium phosphate, tribasic" 3 4TSP is sometimes used to produce pH in the range of about 12 for dyeing processes. It may be used in scouring. Strong solutions can be very irritating to skin, so handle it with care. - Rev 3.0.0r

Tannic Acid
A mixture of compounds derived from oak bark, nutgall and other natural sources; no well-defined chemical composition. Tannic acid treatment, followed by treatment with tartar emetic, has been used to improve the washfastness of dyed wool or nylon. Syntans and now used for this purpose. - Rev 3.0.0a

Tartar Emetic
Antimony potassium (or sodium) tartrate. This was once commonly used with tannic acid to improve the washfastness of dyed wool or nylon. - Rev3.0.0a

Technical Grade
A term applied to chemicals sold for general industrial purposes. Technical grade chemicals are usually somewhat less pure than "reagent grade" or "analytical grade"chemicals, and are much cheaper. Technical grade is now rather rare in small packages from laboratory chemical suppliers. Package sizes from industrial chemical vendors often range from about 25kg or 50 pounds up to rail car lots. "Tech" grade chemicals are very suitable for textile dyeing. Also see grades of chemicals. - Rev 3.0.0a

Acordis Fibers (Holdings) Ltd. trademark for their lyocell regenerated cellulose fibers. There are two types of TENCEL®. "Conventional" TENCEL®, is subject to fibrillation, which is exploited to produce a "peach skin" finish. TENCEL® A100 is treated to cause cross-linking of cellulose fibers, which prevents fibrillation. TENCEL® has much higher wet strength than other regenerated cellulose fibers such as viscose rayon. It can be dyed much like cotton. - Rev 3.0.0r

Weakening of a fiber, normally meaning as a result of chemical degradation. Cellulose fibers can be tendered by acids or by excessive action of oxidative bleaches.

Also called thiodiethylene glycol or 2,2'-thiodiethanolThiodiglycol is sometime used to increase solubility of acid dyes, particularly for making printing pastes. It is very hazardous if mixed with hydrochloric acid. It is difficult to obtain, and there may be restrictions on its sale in some countries. - Rev 3.0.0a

Thiourea Dioxide
Thiox; a reducing agent used in discharge, stripping and vat dyeing; also called formamidine sulfinic acid or thiox; sometimes abbreviated TUDO; Color Index Reducing Agent 11Thiourea dioxide is popular discharge agent. It can also be used for bleaching wool, since will not damage the fiber like chlorine bleach will. Thiourea dioxide is considered to be safe, from a health risk point of view. Thiourea itself, which may exist in very minute proportions in thiox, is known to be a carcinogen. Extra care in handling is warranted. Thiox powder is flammable. Carboxymethyl starch (Monagum) is suitable as a thickener if required.- Rev 3.0.0r

Tin Chloride (tin (II) Chloride, Read Tin Two Chlo
SnCl - also called stannous chloride 2Formerly, tin (II) chloride was often used as a reducing agent for discharge printing. In most cases sodiumformaldehyde sulfoxylate or zinc formaldehyde sulfoxylate has replaced it in modern processes. It still finds some application for discharge on acrylic fabrics. It is also used as a mordant with some natural dyes. - Rev 3.0.0a

Triple-beam Balance
A weighing device. This term refers a laboratory-type balance scale. "Triple-beam" simply refers to the fact that there are three bars on which weights slide to counterbalance the item on the pan. Typically, one bar has a weight for tenths or hundredths of a gram, one has a weight for grams, and one has a weight for tens of grams. Often additional weights can be hung from pins to increase the total capacity. Triple-beam balances are moderately priced and quite useful in dyeing. A type with a single pan where the mechanism is below the pan (as opposed to a hanging pan type) with are solution of a tenth of a gram is a good choice for general dyeing use. There are now many electronic scales available that are very easy to use, but typically a good deal more expensive for comparable capacity and resolution.

Thiourea dioxide

A somewhat paper-like material made from polyethylene fibers; manufactured by DuPont. Tyvek is a very strong non-woven material that is often used for high-strength mailing envelopes. It is good for labels for items to be dyed, because of its toughness and resistance to dyeing. Use a permanent-ink felt-tipped marker to write on it. Be careful ironing items with Tyvek labels - it melts easily. - Rev 2.0.0a

Light that is just beyond the visible portion of the light spectrum at the blue end. It is primarily ultraviolet light that is responsible for fading of colors, and that makes fluorescent compounds glow. Long wave ultraviolet, "blacklight", with a wavelength of around 365 nanometers, is the preferred source for exposing many photosensitive materials, such as silkscreen emulsions. It is also useful for inspecting fabrics to detect optical brighteners. Longwave UV sources can be found in the form or fluorescent tubes. Tubes that appear white when off also emit considerable visible light and are best as exposure sources. Tubes that appear very dark purple don’t produce much visible light and are best for inspection sources. The dark purple type can often be purchased at novelty shops. "Germicidal" lamps are shortwave UV emitters. This wavelength, typically about 254nanometers, can cause eye damage. In one classification system, the ultraviolet spectrum is referred to by three wavelength classes: UB-A (315-400nm), UV-B (280-315 nm) and UV-R (280-400 nm)Ordinary glass is fairly transparent to longwave UV, but nearly completely opaque to shortwave UV. - Rev 2.0.0r

Union Dye
A dye that is a mixture of two or more different classes of dye, used typically to dye blends of fibers"Household" dyes, of the sort sold in grocery stores, are usually union dyes containing a direct dye which will work on cellulose fibers, and an acid dye which will work on wool or nylon. Industrially, union dyes may be other combinations, such as reactive and disperse dyes for dyeing cotton-polyester blends (often with two distinctly different sub-processes).

An organic nitrogen compound; NH CONH 2 2Urea is used in dyeing for a number of purposes. Urea helps increase the limit of solubility of some dyes, such as MX, in water. This can be useful when strong solutions are to be made for tie-dyeing, for example. From 5% to20% w/v can be used. Urea is used as an humectant. In tie-dyeing or similar processes it helps prevent fabric from drying out during the long periods when it is left in the open for the dye to fix. Urea increases the swelling of fibers and can break hydrogen bonds, aiding penetration and mobility of dye. Large amounts of urea, up to 30% w/v, are used in some cold pad-batch dyeing processes for wool. Most urea sold is synthesized from natural gas. (Urea is sold as an "organic nitrogen" fertilizer. Pure urea will be designated 46-0-0 when sold as such.) - Rev 3.0.0r

Van Der Waals Forces
Intermolecular forces as a result of localization of electrical charge within molecules. A molecule considered as a whole is electrically neutral. Because of the way in which electrons are held, there may be local areas that appear to have positive or negative electric charge, either permanently or temporarily. These charges lead to attraction between molecules. Van der Waals forces are weak and easily broken, but they can be important in dyeing. They can be important in affinity, and hold dye molecules on the fiber near to where a much stronger bond may ultimately be formed. - Rev 3.0.0a

Vat Dye
A classification of dyes that are converted from a water-insoluble pigment form to a soluble leuco form(using a reducing agent), applied by immersion to fabric, then converted back to the insoluble form (by oxidation)The name comes from "vatting" which once meant using natural fermentation processes in a vat to produce the reducing conditions to make the dye soluble. Indigo, the blue of blue jeans, is a common vat dye. Vat dyes, with the notable exception of indigo, are generally very lightfast and washfast. Many have very good resistance to chlorine bleach. Multiple applications of dye may be required to build strong shades because of limited substantivity. Sulfurdyes use processes similar to vat dyes, but are distinguished by their sulfur content. Some modern vat dyes are supplied in already-reduced soluble form. Occasionally art dyes will say something is vat dyed when they mean it has been dyed with any dye type in a large volume of solution, as opposed to by direct application of dye or other techniques. This use should be avoided. - Rev 3.0.0r

Dilute acetic acid, typically around 5%Vinegar is a convenient acid for many dyeing processes, although a lot may be required because it is so dilute. Much of the white vinegar sold is made by diluting concentrated acetic acid produced by synthesis from natural gas. Vinegar diluted with 10 parts of water will give a pH of around 4.2.

Vinyl Sulfone
(or sulphone) a of reactive dyes, generally used for cellulosic fibers but with some use for wool. Vinyl sulfone reactive dyes are intermediate in reactivity, so they are applied above room temperature, but well below the boiling point of water. They are quite non-reactive until exposed to alkaline pH, so they can be stored as solutions for much longer periods than highly reactive dyes like MX. Washfastness may be somewhat inferior to some other reactive dyes. Vinyl sulfone dyes can be a good choice for dyeing the background color for discharge, since they are quite easy to discharge with reducing agents. There are also simple chemical resists , that work well with these dyes, preventing fixation to the fiber, so they find application in printing processes. Remazol® is a popular brand name. - Rev 3.0.0r

Abbreviation for weight/volume. Solutions are sometimes specified as being made as some percentage weight/volume. This means that the substance dissolved is measured by weight, and the final solution is measured by volume. For example, 5% sodium chloride w/v would mean that 5 grams of salt would be dissolved in enough water to make a total solution volume of 100 milliliters (or, say, 150g to make 3 liters, etc), and would be labeled "Sodium chloride 5% w/v". Solutions are most commonly made this way, and it can be assumed to be this way unless otherwise specified. Also see w/v.- Rev 2.0.0r

Abbreviation for weight/weight. Solutions are sometimes specified as being made as some percentage weight/weight. Both the substance dissolved and the final solution are measured by weight. For example, a 10% solution of urea w/w would be made by dissolving one pound of urea in 9 pounds of water, and would be labeled "Urea 10% w/w". This method is sometimes preferred in industry since automatic mixing equipment is often designed to handle everything by weight rather than volume. Also see w/v. - Rev 2.0.0r

Washfast Acid Dyes
A vague term for a group of acid dyes that have good washfastness properties. This term is sometimes used by dye sellers for a group dyes selected for good washfastness properties. Often the dyes come from the premetallized, milling or reactive classes. - Rev 3.0.0r

A measure of the resistance of a dye to washing out of the fiber. There are a number of industry-standard tests for washfastness, usually based on the equivalent to the home laundry process appropriate for the fiber. Washfastness tests are concerned not only with loss of dye from the colored fabric, but also transfer of dye from the wash liquor to other items. Washfastness depends to a great extent on the nature of the dye, but also on the fiber, the application process and the post-dyeing treatment. There is not necessarily any relationship between washfastness and lightfastness. - Rev 3.0.0r

Washing Soda
Sodium carbonate Washing soda, if "pure", is usually sodium carbonate decahydrate (Na CO •10H 0). Retail washing soda may 2 3 2contain additives such as detergents, salt and optical brighteners, and is therefore not a good substitute for soda ashfor dyeing - Rev 3.0.0r

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