What is ink?

Ink is a mixture of ingredients formulated to create a substance containing pigments or dyes that is used to color a surface. Inks usually come in liquid or paste form, and can be divided into four general classes of aqueous, liquid, paste and powder.

Most inks contain four basic components: colorants (that grant color and opacity), binders (mostly resins that serve to hold together other components), additives (like wax or chalk, used to grant specific traits) and carrier substances (like oils, which allow the ink to flow, spread and transfer). The ink industry is valued at over $10 billion as ink is somewhat ubiquitous and found in writing paraphernalia and print (including newspapers and books).

What are the common types of ink?

Inks are roughly divided into printing inks and writing inks. Writing inks, like the ones found in pens, started out using water-based dye systems and evolved into paste oil-based dyes that improve ink flow, and are generally more non smearing and quicker to dry than water-based systems.

Printing inks are categorized in two groups: inks for conventional printing (using a mechanical plate that transfers an image to the printed object) and inks for non-impact printing like ink-jet and electrophotographic technologies.

Conductive inks

Conductive inks contain components that provide the function of conductivity. Such components may be comprised of silver, carbon, graphite, or other precious metal coated base material. Common conductive inks can be classified into three categories: noble metals, conductive polymers, and carbon nanomaterials. Conductive inks can be used in various ways, including screen printing, flexographic or rotogravure, spray, dip, and more. A selection of conductive inks are offered on the market, to meet the demands of many applications: electronics, sensors, antennae, touch screens, printed heaters and more.

What is graphene?

Graphene is the thinnest and strongest material known to man. It is also an excellent electrical and heat conductor that has unique optical properties. Graphene is a 2D material made of carbon atoms, arranged in a honeycomb lattice. Its myriad qualities make graphene worthy of the title “wonder material”, with endless potential for all sorts of applications from membranes to electronics.

Graphene inks

Carbon nanomaterials offer many possibilities for printed and flexible electronics. The electrical properties of carbon nanotubes and graphene are particularly promising, and have been exploited in a number of applications from thin-film transistors (TFTs) and electrochemical sensors to supercapacitors and photovoltaics. Due to its high charge carrier mobility, superlative thermal and chemical stability and intrinsic flexibility, graphene has been demonstrated for a number of applications in printed electronics including chemical and thermal sensors, supercapacitors and more.

Graphene inks expand the possibilities for applications such as printed electronics, packaging and electronics, but often need to be specially formulated or adjusted for specific uses, like unique substrates or processing/printing methods (rotogravure, flexo, or screen printing processes etc.) as demands vary for the different uses. Screen printing, for example, usually requires optimal coverage capability while flexographic printing warrants rapid drying.

The graphene inks market

The graphene market can be a confusing one. While there are some companies that sell graphene inks, like Haydale and Vorbeck Materials, many other companies are involved in different aspects of the market. For example, Angstron Materials do not sell graphene inks but offer graphene nanoplatelets (GNPs) that can be dispersed in solvent to create graphene ink of sorts. Other companies are in various stages of developing graphene inks and accessory products. Graphene 3D printing can be done by using a liquid similar to ink, yet it is different than the inks that are used for other applications.

If you’re interested in graphene inks and wish to find the one suitable for your needs, contact Graphene-info - the graphene experts. We use our unique market familiarity and understanding to assist you in finding exactly what you are looking for.

Further reading

 

 

Latest Graphene Ink news

AMD announces first contract under the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL)

Advanced Material Development (AMD) recently announced that it secured its first contract under the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) Weapons Sector Research Framework (WSRF), worth £125,000 (around USD$166,700).

The contract will fund the early development of AMD’s proprietary technology in carbon-based inks to improve protection systems for people and assets.

Read the full story Posted: Dec 15,2020

Haydale updates that partner IRPC starts graphene-enhanced face masks production

Haydale Graphene Industries has announced that its partner IRPC has now completed the development project with Haydale and started production of its new washable functionalized graphene-enhanced fabric mask.

IRPC has placed a follow-on order for 200 kilograms of Haydale’s bespoke ink, with further orders anticipated, the advanced materials group said. The face masks are currently being produced for use internally within the IRPC group, with a forecasted external order book for 2021.

Read the full story Posted: Nov 29,2020

Researchers examine novel inkjet-printed graphene for high‐quality large‐area electronics

Researchers from the University of Nottingham’s Centre for Additive Manufacturing (CfAM) have reported a breakthrough in the study of 3D printing electronic devices with graphene.

inkjet‐printed graphene/hBN FET imageCharacterization of the fully inkjet‐printed graphene/hBN FET. Photo from article

The scientists utilized an inkjet-based 3D printing technique to deposit inks that contained flakes of graphene, in a promising step towards replacing single-layer graphene as a contact material for 2D metal semiconductors.

Read the full story Posted: Nov 09,2020

Haydale reports its financial results for FY 2020

Haydale announced its financial results for FY2020 (which endd on 30 June, 2020). The group's revenues reached £2.95 million, down from £3.47 in FY 2019, but its net loss decreased to £4.02 million (down from £7.19 in 2019) as the company continues to implement cost savings measures.

Haydale's negative cash flow deceased by 31%, but the company still used up £3.32 million in the year and at the end of June had only £0.82 million in cash and equivalents. On September 2020 Haydale raised £2.98 million via a new share subscription.

Read the full story Posted: Oct 30,2020

New self-charging graphene-oxide ink battery is under development

Australian Advanced Materials has announced it is developing a graphene-oxide-based ink battery that is able to self-charge within minutes.

The cells will be created with a printable ink and designed to generate electricity from humidity in the air or skin surface to self-charge without any manual charging or wired power required. It was said the batteries will be ideally suited for use in Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Read the full story Posted: Oct 29,2020

Researchers develop graphene-based supercapacitor to power wearable skin sensors

Researchers from the Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea have recently developed a low-cost energy storage device to power electronic devices like wearable skin sensors. The supercapacitor, made with graphene ink that is sprayed onto flexible substrates, can be used for remote medical monitoring and diagnosis on wearable devices.

Graphene inks enable flexible and mechanically durable planar supercapacitors image

Materials scientist Sungwon Lee shared that as the demand for wearable devices and remote diagnosis has increased, scientists have focused on developing electronic skin devices. The team focused on "extremely tiny and flexible energy devices as a power source."

Read the full story Posted: Oct 15,2020

Haydale signs collaboration agreements with Dowty Propellers

Haydale has announced the signing of contracts for the provision of services for the collaborative development of graphene and nano material enhanced products for use in Dowty Propellers’ products. Haydale will assist Dowty in examining the feasibility and development of various material technologies, pertinent to Dowty’s future product development, involving the incorporation of graphene and other nano materials.

Haydale will work with Dowty to develop erosion-resistant coatings with the addition of Haydale’s proprietary Silicone Carbide (SiC) Microfibers. Further development work is ongoing to establish the feasibility of potential industry-changing technology for the turboprop sector. In addition to these topics, Haydale will develop graphene-enhanced functional inks for strain sensing using its surface engineered HDPlas graphene nanomaterials.

Read the full story Posted: Sep 15,2020

Understanding the "coffee ring effect" leads to better graphene and 2D inks

Researchers from Imperial College London, Durham University, University of Cambridge, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Zhejiang University, Beihang University, Nanjing Tech University, Macquarie University, University of British Columbia and Aalto University have collaborated to examine the "coffee ring effect" which has been hindering the industrial deployment of functional inks with graphene, 2D materials, and nanoparticles because it makes printed electronic devices behave irregularly.

Ink examples and corresponding optical micrographs of printed single lines on Si/SiO2 image

The team of researchers has now created a new family of inks that overcomes this problem, enabling the fabrication of new electronics such as sensors, light detectors, batteries and solar cells.

Read the full story Posted: Aug 14,2020

Zen Graphene Solutions moves forward with applying its virucidal graphene ink in PPE applications

ZEN Graphene Solutions has announced it has commenced collaborations with research teams at a number of personal protective equipment (PPE) manufacturers to incorporate ZEN’s virucidal graphene ink into commercial products, including masks, gloves, gowns and other clothing following Zen’s promising results for an antiviral, graphene-based ink formulation from The University of Western Ontario’s ImPaKT Facility, biosafety Level 3 lab.

The company continues to optimize its proprietary formulation for dosage and delivery mechanism for highest antiviral impact. The next phase of testing is currently underway at the ImPaKT Facility and includes a preferred mask fabric coated in ZEN’s virucidal ink exposed to and tested against the COVID-19 virus.

Read the full story Posted: Jul 30,2020