Solvent - What is a solvent?
A solvent is any substance that is capable of dissolving another substance to form a solution. An example of an everyday solvent is water. The term is commonly used to refer more specifically to organic substances (chemical compounds that contain carbon), such as toluene, turpentine, acetone, ethyl acetate, ethanol, and isopropyl alcohol.
In labelling, solvents are used to reduce the viscosity of adhesives, coatings, and inks. When these substances are dissolved, they are distributed uniformly throughout the solvent; this reduces the cohesion and adhesion of the substance and creates a solution that has a lower viscosity, which improves its flow and reduces its tack. Solvents are added to printing inks to facilitate the transport and drying of an ink; they dissolve a vehicle and pigment together and usually have low boiling points, which means they evaporate quickly and leave the pigment on the substrate. They can also be used to clean adhesive residue from printing devices.Go Back to Glossary