Ultramarine

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Natural ultramarine.
Synthetic ultramarine blue.
Synthetic ultramarine violet.

Ultramarine is a blue pigment, and the name of a blue colour. The pigment is found naturally. It is ground down from a mineral called lazurite, the main component of lapis lazuli.[1] The colour is due to the presence of S−3 anions (trisulfur).

Synthetic ultramarine[change | change source]

Synthetic ultramarine is a more vivid blue than natural ultramarine, since the particles in synthetic ultramarine are smaller and more uniform than natural ultramarine and therefore diffuse light more evenly.

Artificial, like natural, ultramarine has a magnificent blue colour. Since it is not affected by light or contact with oil or lime, it is used in painting.

A small addition of zinc-white (zinc oxide) causes the colour to become less vivid (~bright). Synthetic ultramarine, invented in the 1820s, is very cheap. It is largely used for wall painting, the printing of paperhangings and calico. It is also used to correct the yellowish tinge found in things meant to be white, such as linen, paper, etc. Bluing or "laundry blue" is a solution of synthetic ultramarine (sometimes, prussian blue) that is used for this purpose when washing white clothes. Large amounts are used in making paper, especially the kind of pale blue writing paper popular in Britain. During World War I, the RAF painted the outer roundels with a colour based on ultramarine blue. This became BS 108(381C) Aircraft Blue. It was replaced in the 1960s by a new coluor based on phthalocyanine blue, BS110(381C) Roundel Blue.

References[change | change source]

  1. Buxbaum G. et al 2012. Pigments, inorganic, 3. Colored pigments. In Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim. doi:10.1002/14356007.n20_n02