Thermal Paper

Thermal paper is a special fine paper that is coated with a chemical that changes color when exposed to heat. It is used in thermal printers and particularly in inexpensive or lightweight devices such as adding machines, cash registers, and credit card terminals. The surface of the paper is coated with a solid-state mixture of a dye and a suitable matrix; a combination of a fluoran leuco dye, octadecylphosphonic acids as an example. When the matrix is heated above its melting point, the dye reacts with the acid, shifts to its colored form, and the changed form is then conserved in metastable state when the matrix solidifies back quickly enough.

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