Ink Chromatography Reveals the Rainbow of the Black.

Ink Thin Layer Chromatography results.

What black ink is made of? Ink chromatography experiment shows that it made of pretty bright and vivid colors. Why this colors mixed together become black? White light is in fact a mix oflights of different colors.  Your monitor made of tiny luminous dots. Each of them emits the light of certain color. It was found that eye is the most sensitive to the 3 main primary colors in the light – Red, Green and Blue. The mix of this three primary colors gives the perception of white light.

If you look closely on the monitor (using zoom lens is a good idea), you'll see that dots on your monitor are emitting Red Green and Blue light. This RGB color model called additive, because all of the colors are result of adding of primary colored light of different intensity (and black simply means - no light). But this model only will work if you have surface that emit light. However, most of the surfaces absorb it. Some surfaces absorb only small amount of light and they look white for us. Some absorb more and they look gray, dark gray or black. When surface absorb lightwaves of different length non-uniformly we see it colored. Green leaf absorbs most of the light but green. Green light gets reflected more then red or blue, and we see green leaf as a result.

So what happens if you mix colored substances that absorb different parts of the spectrum? You may find combination that will absorb all light. And that's exactly what mixture of black marker inks does. This trick represent subtractive color model. Painters use the same model to mix the colors. If you have ink jet color printer, same model used there. As well as in movie industry and print industry.

Check our ink chromatography page to find out how to do ink chromatography experiment at home.

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