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It is said that some polymers can be dyed, but I am not sure about the mechanism behind.

Let me take an example. In anodization, aluminium oxide can be coloured since there are tiny pores for the ink molecules to get in.

But then, for polymers, is it just so simple that the ink molecules form bonds with the polymers?

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Polymer dying/colouring is several thousand years old.

It is done in several ways:

  • Forming covalent or hydrogen bonds with polymer molecules, mostly natural hydrophilic polymers like plant polysaccharides (linen, cotton) or animal proteins (wool, silk)
  • Dissolving of dyes in melted thermoplastic polymers
  • Dissolving of dyes in reaction mixture producing thermoset polymers
  • The same as the latter two, but Disperging pigment particles instead.
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