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The difference between water-based ink and oil-based ink

Date:2023-06-23  From:Star Color   

Water-based ink and oil-based ink are two distinct types of inks with different properties and applications. Here are the key differences between them:

Water-Based Ink: Water-based inks are primarily made up of water as the solvent. They also contain pigments or dyes, binders, and additives. These inks are designed to be environmentally friendly and have low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Oil-Based Ink: Oil-based inks, also known as solvent-based inks, use organic solvents as the primary carrier. These solvents can be derived from petroleum or other sources. Oil-based inks contain pigments or dyes, resins, and additives.

Drying and Curing:
Water-Based Ink: Water-based inks dry by the process of evaporation, where the water content in the ink evaporates, leaving the pigment or dye and binder to adhere to the substrate. Additional heat or air drying can accelerate the drying process.
Oil-Based Ink: Oil-based inks dry through a process called oxidation. The solvents in the ink evaporate, and the remaining oils or resins react with oxygen from the air, resulting in the ink hardening and becoming resistant to smudging.

Application and Substrates:
Water-Based Ink: Water-based inks are commonly used for printing on paper, cardboard, fabric, and other porous surfaces. They are widely used in industries like packaging, textile printing, and commercial printing.

Oil-Based Ink: Oil-based inks are commonly used in applications where resistance to water, chemicals, and abrasion is required. They are often used for printing on non-porous surfaces like plastics, metal, and glass.

Water-Based Ink: Water-based inks have a lower viscosity compared to oil-based inks, making them suitable for finer details and better color penetration into the substrate. They generally have less odor, are non-flammable, and are easier to clean up.

Oil-Based Ink: Oil-based inks have a higher viscosity, which can result in thicker and more opaque prints. They often offer better durability, resistance to fading, and waterproof properties. However, they can have a stronger odor, are more flammable, and require more stringent cleaning procedures.

Environmental Impact:
Water-Based Ink: Water-based inks are considered more environmentally friendly due to their lower VOC content and reduced use of petroleum-based solvents. They have less impact on air quality and human health compared to oil-based inks.

Oil-Based Ink: Oil-based inks typically contain higher levels of VOCs and petroleum-based solvents, making them potentially more harmful to the environment and human health. Proper handling, disposal, and ventilation are necessary when using oil-based inks.

It's important to note that both water-based and oil-based inks have their own advantages and are suitable for different applications. The choice between them depends on factors such as the printing substrate, desired print quality, durability requirements, environmental considerations, and specific industry needs.