Thermal paper is a type of specialty paper that can change color when exposed to heat without the use of any traditional ink. It is usually used in thermal printers specifically for devices such as cash registers, credit card terminals, and adding machines. These papers are made through the application of a specially made heat-sensitive materials. These mixtures of chemical materials usually vary on the facility of the manufacturer.
whats thermal paper

1. What’s the Difference Between Thermal Paper and Regular Paper?

Thermal Paper

Thermal paper is different from the regular paper in that it’s coated with a mixture of dye and chemicals. When heated above the melting point, the dye reacts to the chemicals causing a shift to a colored form (typically black but occasionally blue or red). The print head in the machine is able to heat the correct areas of the paper, making it legible.

Thermal paper contains three layers, although you wouldn’t notice by looking at it.

Component of Thermal Paper

  • The substrate layer is basically just the paper.
  • The base layer acts as a binding element made from starches, gelatin, and alkali salts. This layer allows the heat to move through the paper.
  • The active layer contains the chemicals that make the paper react to heat.
  • An additional protective layer helps prevent the paper from fading. Not all thermal papers contain this layer.

How to Identify?

You can notice some differences in the feel of the paper. Thermal rolls have an almost slick surface and can be hard to write on with a pen, whereas regular paper rolls feel like ordinary copy paper. Since the dye appears with heat, the swipe of a fingernail can produce a black mark on the surface of thermal paper.

2. Can You Use Thermal Paper in a Normal Printer?

Printing thermal paper in a normal printer is not advisable. Thermal paper is made to work in thermal printers, which use heat instead of ink. Thus, it would not produce a good result if you used a non-thermal printer. The same applies to using regular paper in a thermal printer.

3. How to Measure Thermal Paper Roll Size?

Knowing the correct paper roll size is the first step in starting your paper roll business. You can simply Google the receipt printer model or ask your paper supplier to find out exactly what products (paper, ribbons, cleaning supplies, etc.) are compatible.

In case the way doesn’t work, you can measure the paper roll size yourself. To do that, you need these four measurements:

  • Width – Use a ruler, measure across the face of the roll from side to side
  • Diameter – from edge to edge of the thermal roll going directly through the center spindle hole in the roll
  • Length – the length or amount of paper wound on the roll
  • Core size – the diameter of the tube on which the thermal paper is rolled.

4. How to Buy Good Quality Thermal Paper Rolls?

  • Choosing the right paper roll size

There are a lot of thermal papers available, each with different sizes based on the customer’s need. Choosing the right paper size helps you to save money as well as precious time.

  • Knowing the quantity of paper rolls you need

Knowing the quantity will depend on the number of business transactions you have. This way you have the best chance of getting discounts on bulk purchases.

  • Determining how cost-effective it is

Make sure that the paper rolls you buy are definitely worth the price. You can do this by considering your total budget and comparing prices from different manufacturers.

5. Is Thermal Paper Toxic? How to Prevent it from Health Risks?

BPA free receipt paper

Bisphenol A (BPA) is an organic synthetic compound that is found in many plastic food and beverage containers such as plastic bottles, cans and stretch wraps. As a color developer, it is also often part of the coating of thermal paper which is traditionally used for receipts and weighing scale labels in the retail sector.

BPA has been of concern due to its hormone-like properties as an endocrine disruptor. It is suspected of having negative health effects and being connected to risks of cancer, diabetes, obesity, and developmental disorders. Luckily enough, BPA free thermal paper is already available on the market, buying BPA-free paper can prevent this health issue for both you and your customers.

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