Acid dyes with improved light fastness have become important particularly in connection with the usage of acid dyes in information recording systems. The inferior light fastness may be due to several reasons. Auto oxidation reaction of dyes is generally considered to occur on exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation and prevented by the addition of UV absorbers or antioxidants such as hindered phenols or naphthylamines. In recent years as an approach to the photostabilisation of dyes attempts have been made to prepare dyes with built-in photostabilising moiety.
Acid dyes, named for their application under acid conditions, are reasonably easy to apply, have a wide range of colours and, depending on dye selection, can have good colour fastness properties. The dyes are divided into three categories according to their levelling and fastness properties, namely levelling, milling and super milling dyes.
Levelling, or equalising, acid dyes have good levelling properties and are applied from a bath containing sulphuric acid to achieve exhaustion. Because of the ease of migration of dye molecules into and out of the fibre, equalising acid dyes have poor fastness to washing, and are normally used for pale, bright shades where fastness is not paramount.
Milling acid dyes have a greater substantivity for the fibre than levelling dyes, and therefore have poorer levelling properties. These dyes have better fastness properties than levelling acid dyes, and have reasonable wet fastness, particularly if alkaline milling is to take place in a subsequent process.