Making a dye from scratch and coloring some socks! | Dyes & Pigments

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Shared October 15, 2017

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Today, I'm going to be exploring the science of azo dyes. This class of dyes is one of the most popular and it is used to dye clothing in a unique way. It is based on a reaction known as "azo coupling" where two dye components are developped directly on/in the textile fibers.

The Para Red is not the best though and it is very prone to rubbing off and washing away. Because of this, other dyes are often used instead. Also, I used only one dye here, but combinations can sometimes be used to increase the vibrancy and "richness" of the color.

Both of the main starting chemicals can be made completely from scratch.

p-nitroaniline: sodium benzoate -- benzene -- nitrobenzene -- aniline -- acetanilide -- p-nitroaniline

2-naphthol: naphthalene (moth balls) -- 2-naphthol

For the p-nitroaniline, I've done all the reactions in various videos over the years. The sodium benzoate that I start with is a very cheap and easy to get food preservative.

I might make the 2-naphthol in a future video.


p-nitroaniline video:
Sulfuric acid video:

Procedure reference:


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