As we are moving towards the digital age, paper copies of documents are certainly losing importance. Emails have taken place of letters, tablets in place of books, mobile phones for communication, and what not has turned digital in our life. Nevertheless paper documents are still a major part of office waste, without any apparent justification. Because, we love to read emails in printed form, notes photocopied and database printed. We know that you don’t do it, but your boss certainly loves to live that way in the office. This practice is however idiotic, as it costs lots of trees to lose life, to produce paper and also the ink to print those documents isn’t cheap. A group of chemists from Jilin University in China, however have come up with a solution. They have invented a printer that uses water instead of ink and paper that becomes blank again after 22 hours, making it completely and utterly reusable.
The secret behind such an invention is actually, the paper. It comes pre-treated with an invisible dye called oxazolidine that reacts with water to create a clear readable material, that approximately lasts for a day. After that, the print slowly fades and becomes clear again, making it capable of being used as many times as needed again. Another thing necessary to make that happen is a temperature, which should be below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. As the chemical reaction takes place not above the particular temperature. The printer works like a standard inkjet, but instead of purchasing costly ink-cartridge, you just have to fill up its cartridges with water using a syringe.
As a part of research, the inventors also figured that if one paper is used about a dozen times, the cost would cut down to 1/17th of printing methods with an inkjet printer, even considering the fact that the special paper would cost more than the standard one. At present, only few colors including blue, magenta, gold and purple are tested, but they’re working to add further colors and also improve the resolution.
You can find more about their invention and finding on the Nature Communication Journal.