Bitesize has changed! We're updating subjects as fast as we can. Visit our new site to find Bitesize guides and clips - and tell us what you think!
Print

Science

Paints and pigments

Page:

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  1. Next

Pigments are coloured substances used in paint. Paints are a type of mixture called a colloid. They contain several components, including the pigment, a solvent and a binding medium.

Thermochromic and phosphorescent pigments are very useful, and extend the normal properties of paints.

Dyes

Dyes are substances that can be used to colour fabrics. In the past, people usually used natural dyes from animals and plants. For example, Tyrian purple was extracted from sea snails, and red carthamine from safflowers.

Nowadays, most dyes are synthetic. The first synthetic dye, mauvine, was discovered by William Perkin accidentally in 1856, when he was just 18. Since then, many synthetic dyes have been made. They offer a large range of colours for dyeing fabrics, and they do not fade or wash out as easily as natural dyes.

A molecular model of mauvine, a purple dye

Page:

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  1. Next

Back to Rocks and metals index

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.