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Welcome to this comprehensive article that discusses whether Zink paper is waterproof or not. Zink paper has many amazing qualities that make it special. But many have wondered if this amazing technology is also waterproof. We will tell you all you need to know as you read this article.
Is Zink paper waterproof? Zink paper is a waterproof paper that prints colors without ink, toners, or ribbons. What’s more, it is also recyclable, durable, and resistant to smudge and tear. It is an instant printing paper that you can rely on for high-quality images.
Zink paper works with thermal printing technology. But it is an innovative technology that has transformed the idea of thermal printing. Read on to understand why this thermal paper, unlike others, is waterproof.
Why Is Zink Paper Waterproof?
Zink paper is waterproof because its topmost layer, called the overcoat layer, offers protection from water. This layer is made of polymer. So it seals the Zink paper such that water cannot penetrate it. This layer also offers resistance from heat and light.
Zink paper has five main layers that give it its amazing qualities. The overcoat layer is its topmost layer. Let me show you the different layers of Zink paper and what they do. This will help you understand better how the Zink paper works.
What Layer Makes Zink Paper Waterproof?
The topmost layer (or 5th layer) of Zink papers makes them waterproof. This layer of polymer seals the Zink paper off and offers protection from adverse elements. Some of these adverse elements include water, light, and heat. This layer also makes the photo appear glossy.
The other four layers that make up the Zink paper are as follows:
Layer 1 – The Base Layer
This is the layer of paper material that hosts the layers of color crystals. Sometimes, this layer has an adhesive behind it, so that you can transform it into a sticker and paste it on your desired product or household item.
Layer 2 – The Cyan Layer
This is the first layer of color crystal. It contributes to image formation by releasing cyan-colored dye. But the crystal must be activated by heat for the dye to be released. Of all the image-forming layers of Zink paper, this layer uses the lowest heat level but for the longest time.
Layer 3 – The Magenta Layer
This layer is the second image-forming layer of color crystal. It would release magenta dye upon activation by heat. The magenta layer needs a medium-level temperature to be activated. The time it requires for activation is intermediate.
Layer 4 – The Yellow Layer
This is the third and last imaging layer of the Zink paper. When heat activates this layer, it would release the yellow dye. It requires high temperature but for the shortest time to activate the color crystals.
There are 2 interlayers, which brings the total number of Zink paper layers to seven. There is one interlayer between the cyan and magenta layer and there is another interlayer between the magenta and yellow layer. These layers serve to keep the color crystal layers separate.
How Zink Paper Works
The color crystal layers that two factors are responsible for how the Zink paper works – temperature and duration of heat application. As the Zink paper passes through the printer, the temperature of the printhead and the duration of application determines the color that would be activated.
This differentiation in temperature and duration ensures that the will only activate the color combinations that your picture needs. Meanwhile, the terms “low temperature” and “long time” are not actually “low” and “long”. According to experts, cyan color crystal uses the lowest temperature of 212-392 Fahrenheit (100-200 Celsius), which is applied for the “longest” time of about 16 milliseconds.
The color crystals of cyan, yellow, and magenta would mix in various proportions to produce a wide range of colors. You can get any color you need for your quality image. Each sheet (2 X3 inches) of Zink paper contains billions of dye crystals while compatible printers emit two hundred million heat pulses to activate the dyes and produce images.
✅ Video – Zink – Zero Ink
There are indeed many special things to know about Zink paper. You might think the only amazing thing about them is that they are waterproof. But there is more to Zink paper than its waterproof property. The speed at which it produces images, among many other things, is mind-blowing. Watch this video to see what the Zink paper looks like and to learn about some of its amazing qualities.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Zink Paper
Zink paper prints with zero ink, so they require no ink or toner. They also need no color ribbon. And unlike other thermal printing labels, they have no color limitations. But then, they remain heat-sensitive after printing and can damage easily if exposed to heat. What’s more, their image quality is not as good as that of standard printers.
In the sections that follow, we will show you the advantages of using Zink paper, as well as some of its demerits.
What Are The Advantages Zink Paper?
What are the advantages of Zink paper? The papers print with zero ink, requiring no toners, ink cartridges, and color ribbons. It is an economical technology for printing color pictures and being recyclable, it is also environmentally friendly and non-toxic. More so, it is waterproof and resistant to tear, smudges, and heat.
Zink papers are often used with mobile smartphone printers. So they offer on-the-go printing solutions for a variety of applications. There are projections that mobile phones will soon be equipped to print on Zink papers so that people can immediately print pictures that they take with their mobile phones.
Printing on Zink paper is also amazingly fast. All you need is one pass and your high-quality image will be ready within 30 seconds. The images are photographically correct and completely dry. You wouldn’t have to wait for the ink to dry.
What Are The Disadvantages of Zink Paper?
Some users complained that image quality, especially for photos are not as sharp as what you would get from standard printers. But the most serious demerit is that the paper remains heat-sensitive after printing on it. This means that extreme temperatures can damage the print.
The lowest temperature that Zink paper needs for color activation is 100-degree Celsius. This is a very high temperature but it is still possible for pictures to come in contact with such extreme temperatures. But even still, the best practice is to keep the paper away from every hot area, including stoves and ovens.
The obvious disadvantages of this technology have limited its wide acceptance. But it’s only a matter of time because, over the years, there have been improvements in its downsides.
Does Zink Paper Fade?
Zink papers will eventually fade after you print on them but this can take several years to happen. The paper is long-lasting because of its overcoat layers that give sit resistance to moisture, heat, and light. However, this layer does not offer UV protection. So if your paper is exposed regularly to direct sunlight, it might degrade faster.
Can You Use Any Zink Paper In Any Printer?
You can’t use any Zink paper in any printer because not all printers are enabled to print on the Zink paper. More so, enabled printers have different size compatibilities. You can only a given size of Zink paper on a printer enabled to print on that size.
Branding does not matter when it comes to Zink papers because all Zink papers come from the same manufacturer. The company only partners with other companies, such as Canon and Polaroid to use their technology. So even if you buy branded Zink paper, you can use it on any Zink technology-enabled printer, so long as the size is compatible.
Does Zink Paper Expire?
Zink papers usually have an expiry date. But the expiry of Zink paper does not mean they would become useless after the date. After the expiry date, the print quality might not be as good but you can still print images on the Zink paper. For the best quality, use unexpired Zink paper.
The Zink technology offers waterproof inkless papers for various printing applications. The five major layers of this specialty paper and the two interlayers are largely responsible for its amazing properties. But the overcoat layer is the reason for its water resistance. This layer also makes Zink paper tear-proof and smudge resistant.