Chemical composition of felt-tip pen inks
Felt-tip pens are frequently used for the realization of sketches, drawings, architectural projects, and other technical designs. The formulations of these inks are usually rather complex and may be associated to those of modern paint materials where, next to the binding medium and pigments/dyes, solvents, fillers, emulsifiers, antioxidants, plasticizers, light stabilizers, biocides, and so on are commonly added. Felt-tip pen inks are extremely sensitive to degradation and especially exposure to light may cause chromatic changes and fading. In this study, we report on the complete chemical characterization of modern felt-tip pen inks that are commercially available and commonly used for the realization of artworks. Three brands of felt-tip pens (Faber-Castell, Edding, and Stabilo) were investigated with complementary analytical techniques such as thin-layer chromatography (TLC), VIS-reflectance spectroscopy, μ-Raman spectroscopy, surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS), pyrolysis–gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (Py–GC–MS), GC–MS, and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. The use of TLC proved to be very powerful in the study of complex mixtures of synthetic dyes. First derivatives of the reflectance spectra acquired on the TLC spots were useful in the preliminary identification of the dye, followed by Raman spectroscopy and SERS, which allowed for the unambiguous determination of the chemical composition of the pigments (phthalocyanines, dioxazines, and azo pigments) and dyes (azo dyes, triarylmethanes, xanthenes). FTIR spectroscopy was used especially for the detection of additives, as well as for confirming the nature of solvents and dyes/pigments. Finally, (Py–)GC–MS data provided information on the binders (styrene–acrylic resins, plant gums), solvents, and additives, as well as on pigments and dyes.
Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00216-017-0687-x