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Friday, August 21, 2009

The Chemistry of Paper Money

The Chemistry of Paper Money

Paper banknotes are made from a special paper, which is very dense, making it stronger and more flexible compared to regular paper. In certain cases the banknote paper is a mix of special paper with linen or various other textile fibers. Paper money change hand thousands of times, during their life cycle, which requires them to be produced of much stronger and lasting material.

So, how does the chemistry fit in into the paper banknotes producing picture? Banknote paper is usually infused with gelatin or polyvinyl alcohol in order to make it stronger. Two distinctive features of paper banknotes are the thread and the watermark. The thread is a security feature found in most modern banknotes, which is hard to reproduce due to its complicated structure (it usually consists of metallic, fluorescent and magnetic components). Another security feature paper money have is the watermark, which is an image incorporated in the banknote paper, usually during the paper molding process.

Chemistry plays important role in increasing the durability of paper banknotes, ultimately increasing their useful life. For example dirt attaching to the banknotes has always been a problem, that’s why banknote producers have developed paper with a very thin layer on the surface, which keeps away dirt. Banknote manufacturers also work on improving the banknote paper mechanical stability, mixing natural and synthetic fibers in the banknote paper, making the ultimate product much more durable.

Although in modern banking world the amount of digital financial transactions overwhelms the transactions done with banknotes, we still need and use paper money in everyday life.

http://www.elementsdatabase.com/the_chemistry_of_paper_money.php

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