How does a gel pen work?

Today I will discuss how a gel pen works. A gel pen works on the same principle of a  ball and socket as a ballpoint does. The difference between the gel pen and the ballpoint is that of ink used in both and the way the ink 7 is stored in the reservoir or filler.

The ink of the gel pen is highly viscous and it is a suspension of color pigment in a water-based gel. As the ink of a gel pen is viscous and thickest and it is opaque that’s why it shows up clearly on dark surfaces.

How does a gel pen work?

There is also a plug of clear gel-like  (stopper fluid) at the other end of the ink column in the refiller. It keeps the ink from leakage from the backside of the refiller or reservoir of the gel pen. To understand it think of a vacuum-filled pin and stopper of a surgical syringe that is used in the hospital for the use of various drugs.

By thinking about this syringe, you will better understand the concept behind the gel pen. When the fluid present in the stopper evacuates the ink from the reservoir of the gel pen leaks out and spreads on the page in the form of writing.  The gel present above the ink in the reservoir puts extra pressure on the ink which helps in the smooth writing by gel pen. This is called and known as atmospheric plus gel pressure.


A gel pen uses ink in which a few pigments are suspended in a gel based on water. Because the ink used in gel pen is more opaque and thicker than the ordinary ballpoint ink it shows up more clearly on slick surfaces than the typical inks of a ballpoint or felt pen. Gel pens can be used for many types of writing and illustrations that an ordinary or typical pen does not.


The general design of a gel pen is similar to that of an ordinary or typical pen based on ink that is attached to a barrel which especially contains the writing material and a cap and a reservoir that is filled with ink. The barrels can be created in many different sizes and shapes and are also present in different designs. Some barrels have finger grips of rubber or plastic. The size of the nib or pen tip of a gel pen ranges in different sizes from 0.18 millimeters (0.00071 inches) to 1.5 millimeters (0.059 inches)

Compared to the inks of other pens and typical ballpoints, the ink of the gel pen has a higher viscosity. This ink supports a higher quantity of pigment in it. The pigment is typically copper phythylocycline and iron oxide while the gel is made up of water and biopolymers such as xanthan gel and tragacanth gum. As well as some types of polyacrylate gums.

The pigments are usually opaque and gel pens are present in several bright and pastel colors as well as add to opalescent, glittery, and metallic colors. The colors of the gel pen are shown clearly on a dark pen as the ink is opaque. Many gel pens use inks that are water-resistant by nature and are not washed away by water once and after even the ink is dried. Fraud-resistant gel ink is unaffected by solvents such as acetone and resists check washing.


 A most useful and important trait of a gel pen is that it resists an analytical method that is commonly used to possess the potential age of the ink OF a gel pen. The USSShas maintained the international ink library for many decades.

This is because the manufacturers change their ink formulas slightly from year to year, which is commonly known as thin-layer chromatography which can be used on ink from traditional services and traditional pens to trace the manufacturer and the date of manufacture of most gel pens. The pigments present in the ink of the gel pen did not dissolve ever in the ink and therefore, these pigments can not be analyzed by thin-layer chromatography  (TLC).

The gel of the gel pen present in its ink is more permanent than other inks of ordinary or typical pens. It bonds with the paper once the ink dries and resists fading so that your artwork will be kept safe and written for a long period of time. This strong bond is also what that gel pen allows us in the form of pastel colors to show up the ink on dark paper which pretty much changed everything for all of us in this century.

Important Read: Our Top Picks of Gel Pens for Coloring


From the 80’s time to now this global time, the gel pen has come to its own. The ink of a gel pen is a powder-based liquid that is dissolved in water whereas the ballpoint ink is made of dyes that are not as useful as the gel pen.

Gel pen has various properties over ordinary ballpoint or typical pen. One of the most important and well-known properties of a gel pen is that it writes smoothly on a rough and dark surface and the written words are clearly visible to everyone the words written with a gel pen stay on the page for a very long time hence our paperwork is safe.


Finally, we learn that How does a gel pen work. That’s why a gel pen is more useful and important than the ordinary or typical ballpoint or roller-type pen. The nib or pen tip of a gel pen is small and smooth and stays long for a very long lifetime.

The ink of gel a gel pen contains various pigments that have a different compositions from each other. The gel pen also works on the principle of atmospheric pressure gel builder which is performed by the air or pressure of air present above the filler of a gel pen. Hence, the working of a gel penis simple nut is working is best than all other kinds of ballpoints.

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