The ink used for ballpoint pens and fountain pens vary in ingredients. Some ink manufacturers would use natural dye created from plant roots such as logwood and other types of leaves, berries, roots, or barks. However, most of the ink that we currently use is made of synthetic ingredients, which are derived from petrochemicals. Besides dyes, ink can also be made using pigments, although they are more expensive than dye, and the color that they produce is not consistent. Because of the pigment’s lack of color range, dyes are now the most predominantly utilized ingredient for inks in modern times.
Most inks used for black or blue-colored ballpoint pens contain basic dyes that come from triarylmethane, although some inks are based on acid dyes that are derived from phthalocyanine and diazo compounds. Black inks are not exactly black, as they are just darker shades of Prussian blue, methyl violet, and Victoria blue. For red inks, the compound named eosin is the dye utilized to create the bloody color. Inks made of dyes cannot be erased by water since it is highly resistant to the liquid, although it can be partially removed by using other solvents like rubbing alcohol or acetone, but these solvents can also ruin the paper where the ink is written on.
Ink made of dye back then can soak into the paper, which makes it bleed on the other pages of the notebook or the pad of paper. To solve this dilemma, most ink manufacturers today mix dye-based inks with solvents to help the ingredient dry faster so that it won’t soak into the paper. There are also different kinds of paper manufactured to have special coatings that won’t let the ink bleed into it, although they are more costly to produce than just adding solvents to dye inks.
Speaking of the solvents used for the dye-based ink, the ones that are mixed with the ink are oil-based solvents such as phenoxyethanol and benzyl alcohol. By mixing these solvents with ink, it would allow the material to become smoother while also drying quickly on the paper. The smoothness of the ink can benefit the pen and the writer greatly, as he or she will be able to write faster and more fluid without being stopped by rough ink. These inks mixed with oil can also serve as a lubricant for the ball tip that would sometimes get stuck in one position if the ink is too rough or sticky.
However, there is a downside to smooth and fast-drying ink. The writer must applier more pressure to the ball tip in order to dispense the ink properly. If a spot of ink gets stuck near the ballpoint, then it will dry in the same position, leaving you with a clogged ballpoint for your pen.
Most cheap ballpoint pens are disposable, but there are some that are refillable. These refillable pens have replaceable ballpoint and socket, along with having refillable ink reservoir. However, refillable pens are quite expensive, but considering how people can save money by just buying refills, it could be considered budget-friendly as well for those who are constantly writing using pens.
The most common type of ballpoint pen is the rollerball version, which has a smaller ball at the end that rolls whenever the writer applies pressure on it and moves in to write on the paper. Rollerball pens work perfectly with oil-based inks because it allows the ball tip to flow smoother because of the texture of the ink. A few ballpoint pens have erasable ink, making it suitable for people who may make mistakes frequently while writing. The ink found on those pens has ingredients or properties that are usually found in rubber cement, a material that can be erased by rubbing a special erasing object onto it. It is important to note that erasable ink is thicker than an oil-based pen, and as such, the writer needs to apply a little bit more pressure to the ball tip in order for the erasable ink to stick on the paper. In addition, if a writer chooses to erase a part that was written using erasable ink, he or she must erase it before it dries in a few seconds.
Ballpoint pen (Wikipedia)
Fountain pen (Wikipedia)
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