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Synthetic dyes

Synthetic dyes are industrially produced artificial dyes. Most of them have been newly developed by industry. However, various natural dyes are now also produced on an industrial scale for cost reasons.

From a chemical point of view, synthetic dyes can basically be divided into 3 groups: Azo dyes, triphenylmethane dyes and anthraquinone dyes.

Azo dyes:

In numerical terms, azo dyes are the largest dye class of synthetic dyes. They can be characterized by the general formula R1-N=N-R2. An azo group is particularly typical for azo dyes. This is -N=N- and has chromophoric nitrogen double bonds.

Amines and in the simplest case aniline are used as starting materials. The variety of the azo dyes is justified by the simple substitution of the hydrogen atoms on benzene rings, which then influence the azo bond auxochrom and allow an exact adjustment of the color nuances.

The representatives of these dyes are often lightfast, color stable and can have particularly strong colors.

Triphenylmethane dyes:

The second group consists of triphenylmethane dyes. They have a triphenylmethane basic body and their phenyl rings carry at least one activated substituent in the para- or ortho-position, such as the amino groups. A well-known example would be here: Critical violet or phenolphthalein.

Phenolphthalein in the colorless leukoform is colored deep pink by deprotonation. They are very popular in food coloring and cosmetics.

Anthraquinone dyes:

Almost any color can be produced using hydroxy and amino groups as substituents. There are two ways to synthesize anthraquinone. The first is oxidation or the second is electrophilic substitution using a catalyst.

Indanthrene blue is a particularly wash and light-resistant anthraquinone dye. The name Idanthren can also be derived from this, which is used today as a trademark for particularly high-quality dyes.