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BINDERS IN TEXTILE PRINTING

By Akshay Yuvraj Bhagat (2009TT10782)

Introduction
Pigment particles are molecular aggregates which do not have any group capable of reacting with fibre or substrate. Due to this lack of functionality and size, pigment particles are required to bond to the substrate by use of high molecular weight film forming substance called binder. The binder forms a film when dried which encloses pigment and adheres to fabric. Binder is the only linkage between fabric and the pigment. Binders are organic polymer products used for the fixation of pigment prints/dyeing and as adhesive bonding agents like resins to provide structural integrity to web of nonwovens. They are mainly solid plastic products like thermoplast powders, plastic solution and dispersions. The use of pigment binder is very essential in producing pigment coloured fabric in textile industry. The colour fastness is adequate for majority of the cases for the end use but printing is accompanied by degradation in hand feel. The coloured fabric is slightly harsher than the non-coloured one. With proper selection of binders and application method and variables it is possible to produce acceptable effects after printing. Not only hand feel is vital, but retention of colour on substrate i.e. durability is also important. Other important factors are elastic resilience, flexibility, absorbency, dry-cleaning fastness, etc. Water based synthetic acrylic, vinyl acrylic and styrene butadiene co-polymers are principal binders for pigment printing. An important requirement for these binders is the balance between adhesion and cohesion. Binders for textile pigment printing contain self crosslinking free methylol groups which are protected against premature crosslinking through esterification. Colouration to textile can be done in various ways like padding, printing or by exhausting the colour onto the fabric. In each case there are three major components required for colouration to be reasonably permanent. For padding it is water, pigment and binder; for printing thickener, pigment and binder and in garment dyeing it is water, pigment and

binder with assistance of pretreat. In all binder is an integral part of textile colouration and have influence on the properties of the end product.

Chemistry of Binders
Binders are made using polymer latexes which are made from certain monomers. This monomers give certain properties to final polymers. Polymers used in pigment printing are made by a process called emulsion polymerization. Emulsion polymerization is a process in polymerization of monomer which are emulsified with the help of an emulsifier in the dispersion medium like water.

Monomer properties
The choices of polymer have significant effect on the properties of the dyed and printed fabric, so polymer composition is critical for binder performance and selection. Butadiene, acrylates, vinyl acetate, styrene and acrylonitrile are primary monomers used to design textile binder. Functional monomers are often added to enhance binder properties. Binders are high molecular weight products i.e. long chain organic compounds. The softness of binder film is directly related to respected glass transition temperature. A soft film at room temperature has low glass transition temperature.

Copolymers are produced from this monomers with best possible compromise.

1,3 butadiene produces a very soft homopolymer, so it wouldnt be sticky enough to be an acceptable binder. Therefore, to be effective monomer it must be polymerized with stiffer monomer. It has two double bonds so when it polymerizes one double bond is left which gives it elastic property and good dimensional recovery. This double bond is also susceptible to oxidation which may cause discolouration. Acrylates are thermoplastic which means they have poor dimensional recovery and hence have reduced abrasion resistance. Common acrylates are methyl methacrylates, ethyl acrylates and butyl acrylates. Butyl acrylates have to be copolymerized with firmer monomer as it is too soft. All acrylates polymer have to be copolymerized with functional monomer for acceptable fastness. Vinyl acetate exhibit good adhesion to variety of substrate and is expensive. As a homopolymer it is stiff and has poor fastness properties and water resistance. When copolymerised with acrylates it this disadvantages are overcome without affection the adhesion. Vinyl acetate copolymers are not stable at low pH and will go hydrolysis to form polyvinyl alcohol and acetic acid and cause discolouration. Styrene is generally used to increase the toughness of softer monomers like butadiene. It is used to improve the adhesion properties of binder. Styrene is susceptible to non-polar solvent degradation and when exposed to UV rays it undergoes oxidation which is evident from yellowing of substrate. This can be controlled by addition of anti-oxidant. Acrylonitrile is also hand building polymer and is used to increase the toughness without increasing the stiffness to the extent of styrene. There are two classifications of general monomers, ionic and non-ionic. Ionic monomers are generally carboxyl containing monomers and increase the film integrity of polymer by hydrogen bonding and internal crosslinking during polymerization. They increase the water resistance of the polymer and mechanical stability of binder by imparting a charge on particle surface which will electrostatically stabilize binder. Non- ionic functional group include epoxy and amide monomers and are added for post polymerization crosslinking. They improve fastness properties and water resistance as it is better than carboxyl group in inter particle crosslinking.

Binder Properties
Pigments have certain properties which contribute to overall properties of the end fabric. Certain pigments are more heat sensitive while other have better light fastening effect. While there are specific fastness properties that are dependent on the pigment used, the choice of binder can significantly influence this properties. The properties of some of the common binders are given in the table below.

Conclusion
Binders are used to keep the colour on fabric during pigment printing or dyeing. The choice of binders will always depend upon the properties we have to give to final product and the cost of process. Choosing a proper binder is complex but very critical step and the place to start is to determine what final properties we wish to incorporate in our end product. If softness and crockfastness are the most important then butadiene should be used but if the fabric is light and is going to be exposed to sunlight for long time then acrylate binder should be used. Through new technology and development in science of textile colouration, different ways are being explored in order to address the ever changing need of this industry. New polymers and additives are continuously evaluated in order to advance the performance of pigment colouration.