Friday, November 2, 2012

Chromatography

The trick is simple and well known—lay an ink drop on a piece of kitchen (or blotting) paper, add a bit of water, and the ink will spread through the paper fibers and will show the different dyes composing that particular ink.

This is an easy test to check if two inks are the same or not. Well, the negative results will be final while the positive one should be subject to more analysis. In other words, two inks with different dyes will certainly be different, but two inks showing the same dyes might still be different as there are some other factors that could affect the final color and performance.

Given the doubts I had about how Iroshizuku Take-sumi and Pilot Black compared I performed, by suggestion of FPGeeks Forum member FP_GaF, a chromatographic analysis. The results are clear—both inks are different. The Iroshizuku Take-sumi has a blue-violet component that is absent from the regular black ink. On its side, the Pilot Black is more homogeneous, showing basically a grey dye, albeit with a small presence of a green-brownish component.


Two sets of chromograms on two different types os paper. Iroshizuku Take-sumi ink is the one on the left hand side, and the regular Pilot Black in on the right. Take-sumi ink has a bluish violet dye that is not present on the regular Black ink. On its side, this cheaper ink has, over the domininant grey color, a brownish green dye.

However, the final results of these two inks when used with a fountain pen —which is what we love to do— are really similar, as was shown on the previous chronicle. And the question on the price difference remains appropriate.



Pilot Elite pocket pen, posting nib – Pilot Blue

Bruno Taut
Yokohama, October 31st, 2012
labels: Pilot, tinta

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