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Vat dyes form a very important class of dyes for the cellulosic fibers because the dyeing produced with these have the highest overall fastness properties. All of these dyes have good fastness against wet treatments and crocking and most have light fastness in the region of 6-7. the vat dyes can also with stand oxizing agents like hydrogen peroxide, sodium chlorite and hypo chlorites, and extensively used for dyeing yarn that is to be woven along with the grey yarn. This cloth can undergo the pretreatment process like alkali boiling, bleaching and mercerizing without any damage to the dyed yarn. It may however be mentioned that after the introduction of hydrogen peroxide tolerant reactive dyes, a good proportion of the yarn dyeing has been taken over by the reactive dyes. This is because the reactive dyes are relatively less expensive ang are also easier to apply. In spite of the great in roads made by the reactive dyes for dyeing cotton woven and knit fabrics, vat dyes are still popular on account of the all round high fastness properties. Vat dyes are commonly used for superior quality shirting materials, military uniforms, furnishings, curtains, toweling etc. There are about 60 vat dyes in the market that cover the entire gamut of shades except the deep red colors. Vat dyes are essentially insoluble polycyclic aromatic compounds containing two or more pairs of quinone groups. It may be interesting to remember that indigo and tyrian purple, the earliest non natural dyes, also belong to this family. In order to apply to the cellulosic fibers, vat pigments are made water soluble by reducing to hydro-quinone forms in an alkaline media. The process is known as vatting, a term referring to a historical link with the vegetable indigo dye that used to be reduced in wooden vats with natural reducing agents like sugars. The present day vatting chemicals are sodium hydroxide and a strong reducing agents (one with high reduction potential) sodium dithionite (Na2S2O4) commonly termed in industry as sodium hydrosulphite or simply hydros. Sodium dithionite reduces the keto group of the dyes into the enol form and sodium hydroxide forms sodium salt of the enol to make the dyes water soluble. Caustic soda also neutralizes the acidic decomposition products of the reducing agent dithionite that are produced during vatting and dyeing. Quantity of the reducing chemicals depends upon the no of the keto groups present in the dyeing molecules to the extent of exposure of the dye bath to air. The reduction process may be represented as shown below: Reduction is accompanied by a change in color that is due to alteration in the conjugation of the double bonds. The reduced indigo has a pale shade and so it was called the leuco (white) dye. This term is still used although the leucos of many vat dyes are deeply colored.
Chemical structure of vat dyes
Vat dyes were developed soon after synthesis of indigo but the earlier dyes were either halogen derivatives or sulpher substituted indigo as shown below:
CI Vat Yellow 4 Orange 1
The vat dyes are often classified as indigoid, thio-indigoid and anthraquinonoid but majority of these belongs to the anthraquinonoid group. The thio-indigoid class also includes the hydrone blues that are type of hybrids of sulpher and vat dyes are often used as substitute of indigo. The indigoid and thio-indigoid group of vat dyes have low substantives for cellulose but the anthrax-quinone derivatives, on account of having more complex structures, posses high affinity. These also have better all-round fastness properties then the other two groups.
Dyeing structure of vat dyes
The vat dyes are divided into three main classes for application processes and this division is based on the substanitivity characteristics of their leuco derivatives. Due of the class one are IN (where I stands for indanthrene and N for normal) in their leuco forms have a high substanitivity further cellulosic fibers. These made high alkalinity for the dissolution and are dyed at about 75’C. the class two ( or IW i.e. warm) dyes have moderate substanitivity, require edium alkalinity, are dyed at temperature between 45-75”C and need electrolytes for complete exhaustion of the dyes. The class three (or IK i.e. kalt/cold) dyes have low substanitivity, need moderate alkalinity, or dyed at low temperatures between 20-30”C and required electrolytes in higher a concentration then that needed for the class two.
Methods of dyeing
In batch dyeing of fabric, vat dyes are normally applied in the reduced bath, In jigger. For continuous process, the fabric is padded in a stable dispersion of very finally divided vat pigments often termed as micro dispersions after drying the dye padded fabric, it is reacted with an alkaline reducing solution in a padder to convert the vat pigment into a water soluble leuco form that diffuses into the fibers in the subsequent steaming. As in Sapphire mills ltd only continuous dyeing process is done so it is discussed below:
Continuous dyeing process