Phthalocyanine blue

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Phthalo blue comparison


A synthetic organic colorant composed of copper phthalocyanine that was first synthesized in 1933 by R.P.Linstead. In 1935, copper phthalocyanine was marketed as a paint pigment called Monastral blue [ICI]. The organic colorant is usually adsorbed on an aluminum hydrate base to form a deep blue color. Other colors are achieved by varying the formulation, i.e., chlorinated copper phthalocyanine produces a green colorant. Phthalocyanine blue is a permanent pigment which is unaffected by light, heat, and chemicals. It is used as a colorant in inks, enamels, plastics, paints, chalks, leather, pencils, and photographs. In industry, phthalocyanine blue has replaced all other blue pigments for use in coatings because it is lightfast as well as resistant to chemicals and clumping.


Pigment number Manufacture Pigment name Manufacture CI number Comments
PB15:1 Kremer phthalo blue, primary 23050
PB15:1 Sun phthalocyanine blue red shade 248-3745
PB15:3 Kremer unspecified 23060
PB15:3 Sun phthalocyanine green shade beta 249-1282
PB15:3 Magruder phthalocyanine blue g_s bl1301-dc

Synonyms and Related Terms

Pigment Blue 15; CI 74160; Heliogenblau (Deut.); bleu héliogène (Fr.); bleu de phtalocyanine (Fr.); Phtalocyaninblau (Deut.); azul de ftalocianina (Esp.); blu ftalo (It.); phtalocyanine blauw (Ned.); azul de ftalocianina (Port.); phthalo blue; copper phthalocyanine blue; Monastral Fast Blue; Winsor blue; Bocour blue; Talens Rembrandt blue; Thalo blue; Heliogen blue


PB15 kremer23050.TIF

FTIR 15:3(MFA)

PB15-3 kremer 23060.TIF

Raman (MFA) 532nm

PB15 532nm 50x 20mW ab.TIF

Raman (MFA) 785nm

PB15 785nm 50x 1mW.TIF

Chemical structure

Phthalocyanine blue.jpg


  • Suspected carcinogen, teratogen.
  • May be contaminated with traces of PCB.
  • Fisher Scientific: MSDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Slowly turns yellow then dissolves in concentrated sulfuric acid
  • Insoluble in organic solvents, water and alkalies.
  • Fine grain translucent to opaque particles with moderate to strong birefringence
  • Crystal type I appears deep red through Chelsea filter and crystal type II appears black
  • Composition = C32H16N8Cu
  • CAS = 147-14-8
  • Density = 1.6
  • Refractive Index = 1.38


Characteristics of Common Blue Pigments

Resources and Citations

  • Nicholas Eastaugh, Valentine Walsh, Tracey Chaplin, Ruth Siddall, Pigment Compendium, Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 2004
  • R. J. Gettens, G.L. Stout, Painting Materials, A Short Encyclopaedia, Dover Publications, New York, 1966 Comment: ...was first introduced to the pigment trade under the name 'Monastral blue' at an exhibition in London, November 1935.
  • Reed Kay, The Painter's Guide To Studio Methods and Materials, Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1983
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing) Comment: Phthalocyanine blue was put on the market in Britain in 1935 and in America in 1936.
  • The Dictionary of Art, Grove's Dictionaries Inc., New York, 1996 Comment: "Pigments"
  • Hermann Kuhn, Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art and Antiquities, Butterworths, London, 1986
  • Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979
  • Website: - R. Linstead analyzed and named the molecule in was commercially introduced in 1935
  • Sigma Dyes, Stains and Natural Pigments, Infrared Library, Nicolet, 1991-1995 Comment: OMNIC: formula= C32H16N8Cu, CAS= 147-14-8