Choose a colour

How can we control the colour tone in the dyeing process?

The fixation of a colouring is produced by chemical affinity or by insolubilization among fibres. Each family of fibres has chemical affinity by a determined type of dye. This affinity basically depends on the chemical properties of the dye-fibre pairing.

In general, we can find appropriate dyes for all types of fabrics: cellulosic, proteinic, polyester made, polyamide, etc.

But once we have clear which dye we are going to use for a particular fabric, the tones range, or better said, of levels of colour saturation that we can obtain is practically endless.

To control or determine previously the “tone” we want to obtain, the question to be asked is: On what depends the quantity of molecules of dye that are fixed to the fibres?

Well, the answer, for the processes of bath dyeing, comes given by these four factors we detail here:

  1. the time of contact of the fabric with the dyeing solution.

  2. the temperature of the process

  3. the relation of dipping Rb: quantity of fabric (weight) / quantity of water

  4. the relation of dye Rt: quantity of dye (weight) / quantity of fabric (weight)

Having all the variables defined we will be able to reproduce the result any time we want. 

We have done experiments in the laboratory for different combinations of the factors aforesaid and with several types of fabrics and of dyes. Here it is shown the experience for the case of a red dye direct over the 100% cotton fabric with the following relations of bath and dye:

  • Rb = 2 g fabric / litre of water
  • Rt = 2,5 g dye / 100 g fabric

In these conditions, the concentration of dye in the bath results:

  • Ct = Rt x Rb = 0,05 g dye / litre

Keeping the parameters Rb, Rt, the type of fabric and its weight constant, we can vary the parameters of time and temperature, that is to say, working with different temperatures and process timing. The product of the nº of temperatures by the nº of process times will result in the nº of different working conditions.

It has been worked with 4 different temperatures and 5 process times, that is, 20 groups of parameters that will give 20 different tones or with similarities among some of them.

This is the result.

Palette obtained of a colour tones. The sample below is original fabric without dye.

The 5 columns represent the 5 times of the process: 5 seconds, 20 seconds, 2 minutes, 5 minutes, and 15 minutes respectively.

Each row is composed of samples that have been to a dyeing temperature, concretely and all the way down: 20º, 45º, 75º y 95º.

Now you choose.

José Ignacio Pérez Tormo and Salvador J. Ros Turégano.
Photography by Irene de Jáudenes Bernabé.
Translated from Spanish into English by Edu Grao and Alicia Hergueta



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