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What is the difference between a pigment and a dye?

This certainly causes confusion.  Some people when they talk about pigments they mean dyes and vice-versa.

In essence, a dye is a colouring compound that is soluble in something whereas a pigment is a colouring compound that is not soluble in anything.

For example, a dye can be soluble in water or it can soluble for example in a solvent such as petrol.

The former would be called a water soluble dye and the latter a solvent dye.

However, sometimes dyes can be soluble in both!  In this case, it tends to be identifiied by it main use.

Pigments are not soluble in anything.  However, the critical criteria for these is the particle size.  Different particle sizes are used for different end-uses.

For example, in textile printing and paints, you would have a larger particle size as you want to maximising the colouring power.  Whereas for ink-jet printing, you would want the opposite as you wouldn’t want large particles blocking the printing head.

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