Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Dye Chemistry

Look around you, at your clothes, the walls, the floor. Chances are that you see before you a riot of colour. Humans have been fascinated by colour for thousands of years and use colours to warn, to seduce and primarily to decorate. So, what about the chemistry behind the decoration? What makes one molecule coloured, and another not? Why do some clothes fade in the wash?

The chemical basis of colours is the reason many people choose to do chemistry. The basis of this project is the chemistry behind fabric dyes- what are they? What are the origins of dyes? How are they made? What affects the way they attach to different fibres?

The search for highly coloured, colour fast dyes has fuelled major industry from ancient times right up to the present, from the Roman dye factories at Tyre, to modern chemical companies such as ICI. Nowadays, the chemist with a knowledge of organic chemistry is at the forefront of new dye development, altering the structures of known dyes, and inventing new ones.

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