Eli5: Why cant we use squid ink as pen inks?


Eli5: Why cant we use squid ink as pen inks?

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Cost and ethical concerns come to my mind. Pen companies would have to keep vast farms of squid to keep up with demand which is a lot more expensive than mixing a bunch of chemicals in a tank. Not to mention, squids release ink when they are distressed so they’d be harming them too.

You can. Sepia ink, from cuttlefish, is still available. It used to be pretty common in the 19th century.

You can — but it’s not the same sort of ink as modern ink. It can be used (and was used historically) for quill pens, and it’s used today to color food.

It would also depend on what type of ink-delivery system you’re talking about. Quill pens require different ink properties than ballpoint pens, for example.

Ballpoint pen ink, for example, is highly viscous.

Ballpoint ink viscosity (measured on a specific laboratory instrument) has a _dynamic viscosity_ somewhere between 10,000 and 25000 centipoise. This is thousands of times as viscous as room-temperature water(which has a value of 1 centipoise), for reference.

Squid ink is only slightly more viscous than water — 3 centipoise, approximately.

It’s entirely possible to use squid ink for writing, under the correct circumstances.