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Tuesday, 24 September 2019
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Raw materials & technologies, Technologies, UV/EB Coatings

Digital inks: Vinylcarbonates as promising alternatives to acrylate based systems

Friday, 11 March 2016

In a study, Austrian researchers evaluated a variety of biocompatible monomers based on vinylcarbonate building blocks regarding their application in UV curable digital inks.

Several vinylcarbonates were synthesised to replace the irritating acrylate compounds in ink-jet inks. Source: Bernd Ehrhardt Werbegrafiker

Several vinylcarbonates were synthesised to replace the irritating acrylate compounds in ink-jet inks. Source: Bernd Ehrhardt Werbegrafiker

The last decade has seen a significant increase in research on UV curable digital inks for industrial printing applications with the focus to expand this technique into new markets. However, most of the commercially available inks are based on acrylic monomers, which provide a significant toxicological behaviour limiting their applicability in promising fields, e.g. printing on food packaging materials.

Thiols enhance curing speed to values comparable to acrylates

In this study, a variety of biocompatible monomers based on vinylcarbonate building blocks were evaluated regarding their application in UV curable digital inks. Although, the viscosity and surface tension of these monomers is appropriate for ink-jet printing, the curing speed is far too low for high speed printing processes. In order to circumvent this limitation, thiol-vinylcarbonate formulations were prepared that offer reactivities and double bond conversions (DBC) similar to those of acrylates. For that purpose, a multifunctional thiol was synthesised providing both, low odor and an appropriate low viscosity facilitating the formulation of basic ink-jet inks, which offer excellent jetting behaviour, together with good film forming properties and adhesion on PET. Although there are some challenges regarding stability, in particular for pigmented formulations, this system represents a promising alternative to commercially available acrylate based inks.

The study is published in: Progress in Organic Coatings, Volume 94, May 2016, Pages 116–123

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