Ink Cartridge 101 – Why Are Ink Cartridges More Expensive than Champagne?
An inkjet printer is a device of precision. The core of an inkjet printer is the printer head. The printer head is a form of moving carriage that contains thousands of ink nozzles which are less than 10 percent of a hair’s diameter or width. These nozzles are responsible for spraying microscopic ink droplets or bubbles onto the paper. Moreover, an inkjet printer can create upwards of a million colours, shades, and hues with repetitive precision by only using the primary colours of black, magenta, yellow, and cyan (CMYK as it’s known.) Just this much would be enough to astound the common man. However, if you’re one of those people who insist on not being wowed consider this. Whatever your ink cartridges contain makes the ink capable of resisting 300 degrees of temperature. What your ink cartridges contain also makes the ink resistant to vaporisation. In addition, your printer has to spray ink out at a speed of almost 50 kilometres per hour and do it with precision because the print head is moving at high speeds too. At the end of it all, the ink needs to have the ability to dry up quickly too.
What All Do Ink Cartridges Contain?
All the qualities of the printing process and the ink cartridge mentioned above are only possible through the addition of new substances into the mix inside the ink cartridge. These substances complicate the concoction that ink cartridges contain and, thus, make them expensive. Here are the major substances that modern ink cartridges contain.
Water: The largest part of the heady mix that your ink cartridges contain is water. In fact, about 95 percent of the ink inside those cartridges is water. Water acts as the primary medium and allows the dissolution of all the other substances with each other. This water isn’t your everyday drinking water though. Water in ink cartridges is qualified as superpure deionised.
Ethylene Glycol: If your ink cartridges didn’t contain ethylene glycol, then you would have had blocked printer heads all the time. Ethylene glycol’s job is probably the simplest in the ink cartridge mix. It improved the time that the substance mix stays mixed with water inside the ink cartridge. It achieves two goals by doing this. The first is that it prevents the ink nozzles from clogging up and the other is that it prolongs the life of the ink inside the ink cartridge especially through periods of insufficient use.
EDTA: EDTA stands for Ethylene – Diamine – Tetraacetic Acid or Ethylenediaminetetraacetic Acid. This complexly named substance’s job is to basically counter the negative impacts of the adhesive strip that covers the printing nozzle on the ink cartridges. The reason why ink cartridges contain EDTA is that the adhesive strip contains metal contaminants that can ruin the ink and may even cause blocked printer head. EDTA forms a sort of chemical trapping structure which catches these metal contaminants and prevents them from entering the cartridge or the printing head.
Ethoxylated Acetylenic Diols: The purpose of Ethoxylated Acetylenic Diols is to keep the surface tension of the solution in the ink cartridge at the right level. The ink cartridge is a container with a very small outlet point. If there’s too much surface tension then the solution that the ink cartridge contains will never come out. If there isn’t enough surface tension then what the ink cartridge contains will come out when it’s not required to.
Acid Yellow 23 Dye: Now, we come to the first of the three colours that ink cartridges contain. This is the Acid Yellow 23 Dye which, as its name suggests, is responsible for the primary colour, yellow. The common name of this substance is tartrazine. It is kept in a separate container inside the ink cartridge as it can’t be allowed to mix with the other colour dyes. Apart from being used in ink cartridges, this dye can also be used to colour wool, silks, food, cosmetics, and drugs. In case you want to break open your ink cartridge, keep in mind that Acid Yellow 23 Dye is proven to cause serious allergic reactions. Direct Blue 199 Dye: The second dye that ink cartridges contain is
Direct Blue 199 Dye. It is the source of the primary colour blue in the set of three that ink cartridges contain. It is also placed in a separate compartment inside the ink cartridge. This dye is specifically used for dyeing cellulose based substances which includes paper in addition to hemp and cotton. This dye is usually used in conjunction with a fixative which helps it get a hold on the medium in question such as paper.
Reactive Red 23 Dye: The third colour in the ink cartridge is magenta and it is brought by Reactive Red 23 Dye. This dye is incredibly reactive which is why it is a part of its name. However, when it is mixed in water in the ink cartridge, it loses a bit of its reactiveness and becomes more passive. This dye contains copper in large amounts and is also used in tinted contact lenses.
Cyclohexanone: Cyclohexanone is a solvent. Its primary job is to help the ink stick to the paper and not slide off or get smudged. While the exact details of how cyclohexanone helps the ink stick to the paper is too complex to get into, its property of being less dense than water does play a role. While cyclohexanone is a key ingredient in the solution that ink cartridges contain, this isn’t its primary use in the world. Cyclohexanone is primarily used for making nylon.
Butyl Urea: The final ingredient that ink cartridges contain is Butyl Urea. Butyl Urea’s job in the printing process is to prevent cellulose fibres of the paper to form new H – bonds. When the ink falls on the paper, its water content causes the fibres to swell up. However, when the water evaporates, the fibres shrink back into normal size. During the shrinking process, they form new H – bonds in the wrong place. This can cause the paper to warp and curl. Butyl Urea prevents this from happening by slowing down the formation of new H – bonds. Now that we know the science behind this “basic” device, the price tag likely makes more sense!
Source credit: inkjetwholesalers