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  • 4 Scientifically Rich Facts About Money

  • Weve got our mind on our money and chemistry on our mind.

  • That’s right folks, this week on Reactions, were talking cash.

  • Believe it or not, there are stacks of chemistry-rich facts about money,

  • so we compiled a list of our four favorite facts about the almighty dollar.

  • Fact 1. The Federal Bureau of Engraving and Printing

  • use washing machines for quality control. The Bureau produced about 26 million

  • bank notes a day last year, which totals around $1.3 billion dollars.

  • With all those bills being printed, you want to make darn sure that theyll

  • hold up in rough conditions, so the Bureau

  • has some really high standards to keep. The printers have to consider a huge amount

  • of variables when testing money for durability. So at the end of production, bureau scientists

  • put their dollars through a beating with washing machines, cement mixers, crumple tests,

  • and a host of other challenges. Fact 2.

  • Now it may sound like a weird test, but the washing

  • machine really isn’t all that out of place. After all, paper money is made up

  • of the same stuff as your clothes. Well, cotton and linen to be more exact.

  • Both of these materials are derived from cellulose, which is the most abundant organic polymer

  • and the basic structural element of woody plants.

  • Cellulose is very strong and resistant to breakage in water, which makes it

  • an excellent material for cash. For added security, little tiny red and blue

  • fibers are added to the paper mix to make counterfeiting

  • much more difficult. Embedded metal or plastic threads

  • are also woven into bills. Go ahead and pull out a twenty and take a

  • look to the left of Jackson’s headhere youll

  • see an embedded thread that readsUSA twenty”.

  • Fact 3. If you have a dollar in your pocket,

  • chances are youre also carrying cocaine. That’s right people, but don’t worry

  • this doesn’t mean youre a criminal. In 2009, a team of chemists lead by researcher

  • Yuegang Zuo at Umass Dartmouth discovered that

  • roughly 90% of paper money in the US has cocaine residue on it, and 95% of the bills

  • in Washington, DC carrying cocaine. Now this doesn't mean that the world’s gone

  • Scarface and that cocaine use has gone way up.

  • When a cocaine-contaminated bill goes through a money counter or an ATM, tiny amounts of

  • cocaine spread to nearly all of the bills in the machine.

  • Zuo’s team used a super fancy instrument called

  • a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer to accurately measure the cocaine content of paper money

  • from five different countries. Of these five countries, the US carried

  • the highest average amounts of cocaine.

  • Fact 4. To ward off counterfeiters, money is printed with

  • infrared ink amongst other specialized inks. The inks used to print cash are composed of

  • inorganic pigments, varnishes, Alkyds, and drier agents like calcium carbonatethe

  • same chemical used to make red fireworks!

  • Go ahead and whip out that twenty again and take

  • a look at that shiny looking “20” on the bottom

  • right of the front of the bill. A special, optically variable ink is used

  • to produce the color changing effect that allows

  • the text to change from green to bronze. Infrared inks are used to hide secret features

  • in bills, which makes counterfeiting really difficult.

  • Infrared inks are undetectable by the naked eye, but do absorb light

  • at higher wavelengths than we can see. These kinds of inks are extremely hard to come by

  • and to print with them requires serious precision.

  • So theyre no use in trying to go and print your own money, youre going to fail, ok.

  • For more information about the chemistry involved in printing money at the

  • Federal Bureau of Engraving and Printing, make sure to check out these ACS Webinar videos.

  • Thanks for watching folks, but don’t stop here. Click this link to learn how screens

  • affect your sleep. Don’t forget to subscribe,

  • well see you again soon.

4 Scientifically Rich Facts About Money

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B1 US cocaine bureau paper money infrared printing washing

4 Science Secrets About Money - Reactions

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    Eating posted on 2015/02/03
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