New Printing Method Makes Paper Reusable

A scientist at Jinlin University in China has created a novel method of printing that could cut down on paper waste in many offices around the world.


After reading a statistic that 40 percent of all paper printed on laser jet printers in his workplaces is read just one time, Dr. Sean Xiao-An Zhang began experimenting with rewritable paper that could be printed temporarily and then made blank again.


The results of Dr. Zhang's work are a brand new type of paper that is coated with oxazolidines polymers. Instead of ink, the paper is squirted with water, which causes a temporary change in the chemical structure of the polymers, making the text or image that was printed appear. Within 22 to 24 hours, the paper will turn blank at room temperature. When heated to temperatures of 70 degrees Celsius, the paper can be rendered blank in just 30 seconds. The paper can be ran through printers a seemingly endless number of times until they become wrinkled and worn.


So far, Dr. Zhang has managed to only print in blue, magenta, purple and gold, but his team is working on developing other colors, including traditional black. If they are successful, perhaps all offices will be equipped with water printers for single read print jobs and drafts.




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