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Screen Printing-Pastes

Screen printing is by far the most common technology today. Two types exist: rotary screen printing and flat (bed) screen printing. A blade (squeegee) squeezes the printing paste through openings in the screen onto the fabric.

The printing thickeners used depend on the printing technique, the fabric and the particular dyestuff . Typical thickening agents are starch derivatives, flour, gum arabic, guar gum derivatives, tamarind, sodium alginate, sodium polyacrylate, gum Senegal and gum tragacanth, British gum or dextrine and albumen.

Paste is made from wheat starch, cold water, and olive oil, then thickened by boiling. Non-modified starch is applicable to all but strongly alkaline or strongly acid colours. With the former it thickens up to a stiff unworkable jelly. In the case of the latter, while mineral acids or acid salts convert it into dextrine, thus diminishing its viscosity or thickening power, organic acids do not have that effect. Today, modified carboxymethylated cold soluble starchesare mainly used. These have a stable viscosity and are easy to rinse out of the fabric and give reproducible "short" paste rheology.