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Posted by Lelia on August 8, 2002 at 17:36:08:

In reply to: Littlefox, Re: Indigo posted by Nick on August 8, 2002 at 15:17:51:

: I did some searching, and found some very interesting information
: the indigo dye process at a molecular level. Here's what i've got:
: "The indigo molecule is not very water soluble, nor is it drawn
: toward the cellulose fibers in cotton thread. It can, however,
: gain electrons from a reducing agent to produce the soluble leuco-
: base form (see figure), which, because of its molecular shape and
: polarity, is drawn toward the cellulose strands. The problem is,
: leuco-base form is yellow, not blue. Furthermore, because the leuco-
: base is water soluble, it would readily wash out. So this leuco-
: form, once attracted to the cotton fibers, must give electrons back
: to form the insoluble, blue indigo form. This is usually
: by exposing the treated cotton to oxygen in air and to some source
: heat or strong light. But, if the leuco-base is converted back to
: indigo, which has very little attraction for the cotton fibers,
: what keeps your blue jeans blue? The answer lies in the fact that,
: once oxidized back into indigo, the bulky molecules are essentially
: trapped inside the three-dimensional polymer network of the cotton
: and have little chance for escape."
: I'm not sure if that would work on skin, becuase the molecules are
: quite large and unlikely to penetrate in the first place, but it
: gives some insight. Also, skin is not a cellulose, rather, a
: But i know that there are ways of dyeing silk (also a keratin
: with indigo as well.
: The picture above illustrates the paragraph... I'm going to give
: somebody a ring to find out what exactly the terps are doing to the
: hennotannic acid molecules, and maybe we can replicate it with the
: indigols.
: ~Nick

That explians why inigo is dye liquid is read until exposed to oxygen
(my sisters fiber book taught me that one:) - nifty



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