Acid dyes with improved light fastness have become important particularly in connection with the usage of acid dyes in information recording systems. The inferior light fastness may be due to several reasons. Auto oxidation reaction of dyes is generally considered to occur on exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation and prevented by the addition of UV absorbers or antioxidants such as hindered phenols or naphthylamines. In recent years as an approach to the photostabilisation of dyes attempts have been made to prepare dyes with built-in photostabilising moiety.
Acid dyes, named for their application under acid conditions, are reasonably easy to apply, have a wide range of colours and, depending on dye selection, can have good colour fastness properties. The dyes are divided into three categories according to their levelling and fastness properties, namely levelling, milling and super milling dyes.
Levelling, or equalising, acid dyes have good levelling properties and are applied from a bath containing sulphuric acid to achieve exhaustion. Because of the ease of migration of dye molecules into and out of the fibre, equalising acid dyes have poor fastness to washing, and are normally used for pale, bright shades where fastness is not paramount.
Milling acid dyes have a greater substantivity for the fibre than levelling dyes, and therefore have poorer levelling properties. These dyes have better fastness properties than levelling acid dyes, and have reasonable wet fastness, particularly if alkaline milling is to take place in a subsequent process.
Super milling acid, or neutral dyeing, dyes are applied in a similar way to milling acid dyes, except that greater control over the strike rate of the dye is exercised. Super milling dyes give very good fastness and, with an appropriate after-treatment, can satisfy requirements for shades of medium depth, especially where reasonable brightness is needed.
Thus there are considerablef differences in the properties and application methods within the whole range of acid dyes. The dyer must take care to ensure that the dyes chosen in combination are from the same group and have very similar properties.
Disperse dyes are characterised by the absence of solubilising groups and low molecular weight. From a chemical point of view more than 50% of disperse dyes are simple azo compounds, about 25% are anthraquinones and the rest are methine, nitro or naphthoquinone dyes. Disperse dyes are used mainly for polyester, but also for cellulose acetate and triacetate, polyamide and acrylic fibres. Disperse dyes are supplied as powder and liquid products. Powder dyes contain 40–60% of dispersing agents, while in liquid formulations the content of these substances is in the range of 10–30%. Formaldehyde condensation products and lignin sulphonates are widely used for this purpose. The following chemicals and auxiliaries are used for dyeing with disperse dyes;
Dispersants: although all disperse dyes already have a high content of dispersants, they are further added to the dyeing liquor and in the final washing step.