Published: Jan 1972
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Printing ink is an intimate mixture of pigments, varnishes, driers, solvents, and quite frequently, waxy and greasy compounds. Occasionally, inks also contain small amounts of special additives such as flow agents, plasticizers, antioxidants, deodorants, and perfume oils, particularly when it is desired to impart special characteristics to the ink. This definition at best is only a generalization and needs considerable amplification before it has any practical value. A printing ink must have the proper viscosity, length, flow, and tack in order to be suitable for the particular press or printing process on which it is to be used. In addition, the substrate on which the ink is to be printed dictates in a large measure the characteristics of the ink. It is essential that inks designed for different processes possess different physical characteristics in order to ensure proper distribution on the roller system of the various presses and proper transfer therefrom to the plate or type and then to the paper or other substrate. The ink must print sharply and give legible prints of the desired color. It must also dry fast enough to permit handling without offsetting or smudging.