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Types Of Printer Ink Commonly Used In Newer Printers

2010-09-28

The two main types of printers in use today both use one of two types of printer inks: pigment inks or dye-based inks. Both have their advantages and drawbacks but the good news is that cleaner and more convenient ways have been found to replace ink when the printer runs out. Most of the newer printer models use cartridges so you rarely have to get your hands dirty.

Pigment inks are used in color printers because they dry quickly, avoiding the danger of one color bleeding into another. This fast-drying quality occurs because pigment ink sits atop the surface of the paper instead of being absorbed into the paper. The fast drying time means you can print several copies of the same page at once without risking printer inks staining the backs of the copies falling on each other in the feeder. Pigment inks also have the advantage of not fading over time and the shelf life of those printed articles is easily several decades. This type of ink is also water fast so should the document become damp the pictures or print will not run or smear. Most newer printer models have fans that quickly dry the ink before they reach the document hopper.

The other type of ink used in the typical newer printer, particularly inkjet printers, is dye based printer inks. The brilliance and contrast of this ink is superior to pigment inks. Dye based inks are used in color printers because they can produce a wide rage of colors and are much less expensive than pigment inks. However, the ink will run under certain conditions; while pigment inks are deposited on the top of the paper, dye based inks are absorbed into the fibers of the paper and will smear in wet or damp conditions. The documents printed with this type of ink can last two or three decades when stored properly.

Newer printer models of inkjet and laser printers use both dye based and pigment inks, the first for black and white documents and the latter for color productions.

The typical office printer is a black and white laser printer that uses powdered dye based ink in a toner cartridge. The printer inks adhere to the image the printer's computer has drawn on a drum and then is transferred to the paper where heat and pressure are used to fuse it to the surface.

There are, of course, laser printers that use pigment inks for color printing. These inks are now generally in powder form, in cartridges. Newer printer models usually use these cartridges although you can still find some cartridges whose printer inks are refilled with liquid ink.

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