Ricoh Company, Ltd. (Tokyo, JP)

It also contains a resin that can be used in toner. The resin is composed of an oligomer as well as a soft segment. The oligomer segment comprises a polyhydroxycarboxylic skeleton and an aromatic diol skeleton.

1. Technical Field

The present disclosure relates an agent for the production of toner, a printer using the resin, a developer that uses the toner, an image forming apparatus and method using the toner, as well as the method of making resin.

2. Description of Related Art

A device for electrophotography that produces an image, or produces a magnetic latent image, or electrostatic recording device, is used to develop the image into a toner. A latent electrostatic image that is created on an image-forming device or an electrostatic recording device, is then transformed into toner. The toner image is transferred onto a recording medium such as paper, and is then fixed through the use of heat etc.

Toner generally comprises resin particles in which colorant, charge controlling agent, etc., are dispersed, and is manufactured by various processes, such as pulverization, suspension polymerization, dissolution suspension, emulsion aggregation,phase-transfer emulsification, and elongation polymerization.

The resin particles may comprise one of the following: a thermoplastic resin such as styrene-acrylic , polyol resin. Polyester resin is stronger and durability, as well as the lower softening temperature, while having a greatermolecular weight and an increased glass transition temperature when compared with styrene-acrylic. This is why polyester resin is extensively used for toner especially requiring low temperature fixability. Particularly it is utilized for toner for full-color printing.

The composition of toners typically comprises 70% to 70% of binder resin. The majority of binder resins come from petroleum resources that are currently affected by depletion. Petroleum resources cause a problem of global warming as they discharge carbondioxide into the atmosphere when they are consumed. Binder resins made of plant resources have been suggested and used as toners. Since plant resources absorb carbon dioxide that is released from the atmosphere during growth, carbon dioxide emitted by plant resources is circulated between the plant resources and the air. Plant resources can help solve global warming and depletion. Polylactic acid, which is found readily, has been utilized as a binder for toner.

High crystallinity can be achieved using polylactic acids made of D-form and L-form. These polylactic acids are not soluble in organic solvents, and therefore they cannot be used for toners manufactured through an process in which binder resin is dissolving in organic solvents. Although polylactic acids may be utilized in the process of pulverization to remove large amounts of toner particles out of the classification process however, they are not recommended for.

Japanese Patent Application Publication No. 2008-262179 suggests mixing polylactic acids in the form of D-form and L-form to reduce the crystallinity. In this report it is shown that the solubility of organic solvents can be enhanced.

Japanese Patent Application Publication No. 08-302003 describes a copolymerized polylactic acid obtained by reacting lactic acid with a reaction product of an aromatic dicarboxylic acid with an aliphatic diol, having a low glass transitiontemperature of C. or less. Japanese Patent Application Publication No. 2007-112849 describes a copolymerized, polylactic acid with an amorphous fluorenone structure as well as the glass transition temperature of C.

Japanese Patent Nos. Each of Japanese Patent Nos. 4307367 and 3778955 propose the introduction of a soft segment into the binder resin.

A resin that could be used as a toner in accordance with certain methods. The resin is comprised of an oligomer and soft segment. The oligomer segment comprises a polyhydroxycarboxylic skeleton and an aromatic diol skeleton.

In accordance with certain examples, a toner can be provided. The above resin is included within the toner.

According to certain versions, a developer can be included. The developer includes the toner mentioned above.

According to certain embodiments, an image-forming apparatus and method are provided. The apparatus for image formation and method use the above-described toner.

A method of manufacturing resin is provided in accordance with certain embodiments. The method includes the step of reacting a hydroxycarboxylic acid or a cyclic ester thereof with an aromatic diol to obtain an oligomer having apolyhydroxycarboxylic acid skeleton and an aromatic diol skeleton. The method is further characterized by the process of resolving the oligomer using the soft material by using an elongating agent.

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