Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Ink, Paper, and Humidity



A few years ago when I went slightly insane testing over a 100 different bottles of fountain pen inks, I eventually realized that there was an important variable that I hadn’t addressed in my reviews.


As I sit here with 88% humidity, it’s making me think that ink would almost have to react differently when applied to paper in extreme dry or humid environments – though I’m certainly not qualified to explain it.

I distinctly remember certain times when my ink (not specific to brand  or color that I can remember) dried quickly on the page yet later smeared – a phenomenon that has been attributed to the top ink molecules drying faster than the bottom ink molecules. And when might that happen? It didn’t happen for me all of the time and I never really looked hard enough at whether it was a *wet writer” “cheap paper” or humidity that might be causing this to happen.

Your thoughts?

Image courtesy of thedailymeditator on Instagram

2 thoughts on “Ink, Paper, and Humidity

  1. Discussed with a physicist. Will do so again. Put a drop or two of coffee on a white plate and watch what happens as it evaporates. But that’s not exactly similar because the liquid is more of suspension than a tint. I’m with Marcia, I think it far more likely that the ink path is being rehydrated from water vapor moving from the adjacent paper fibers back into those that were affected by the drying of the ink which probably drew moisture out of them. I wonder what REALLY happens.

  2. I don’t know anything about ink, but paper absorbs humidity. I have learned this from the photocopier repairman. This is why copier paper sticks together and jams the copier in low humidity; the paper is drier and there is more static. In humid conditions paper is “squishier” and doesn’t move through the rollers as well, so it can wrinkle. I would guess in high humidity ink might take longer to dry underneath due to “wetter” paper.

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