By the Mid- 1990s, the advertising industry began to employ dye sublimation technology for commercial use. Today artists are exploring more creative technological paths, including large-format digital printing.
The principal of dye sublimation is similar to traditional lithography in terms of image capturing. Briefly, dye sublimation is a process that uses special heat sensitive dyes to print images on a specially coated paper with polymer and heat transfer to whatever medium you desire, such as fabric, glass, tile, wood, and steel.
The main difference between inkjet printing and dye sublimation has mainly to do with heat. High temperatures-360 to 400 degrees for 25 to 35 seconds with over 50 psi pressure depending on the thickness on the medium-open up the poles of the polymer and the vaporized ink is observed into the polymer.
When the heat drops, the pole is closed and becomes a part of the polymer. For this reason, dye sublimation fades less over time and is water-resistant, but limited to synthetic surfaces with a minimum of 70 percent polyester fabric. Any natural fabric such as silk or cotton would not work with dye sublimation. However, certain inkjet printers are able to print right on the natural fabrics.
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