Halochromic properties of sulfonphthaleine dyes in a textile environment: the influence of substituents

T. De Meyer, I. Steyaert, K. Hemelsoet, R. Hoogenboom, V. Van Speybroeck, K. De Clerck
Dyes and Pigments
124 (2016), 249-257


The application of pH-sensitive dye molecules onto textile materials is a promising method for the development of sensor materials. Ten commonly used pH-indicators, namely sulfonphthaleine dyes, are applied onto polyamide 6 using two distinct methods: conventional dyeing of fabrics and dye-doping of nanofibres. The influence of the substituents of each dye on their interaction with polyamide, as well as the difference between both application methods is investigated. For the conventionally dyed fabrics, halogen substituents are needed to result in a pH-sensitive fabric. This can be traced back to halogen bonding and is supported by theoretical simulations. Dye-doped nanofibrous non-wovens show significant dye leaching, which can be understood based on the very acidic electrospinning solution. The use of a complexing agent improves the leaching properties, especially for dyes containing four bromine substituents. These findings indicate the importance of halogen substituents on sulfonphthaleines for further research in the development of pH-sensitive sensors.

Open Access version available at UGent repository