Thermal printers use heat for printing. They are designed to work only on thermal paper. You can’t use regular bond paper for thermal printing.
How can you tell if paper is thermal or regular?
Thermal paper has a coating of imaging solutions made from chemicals and dye. The heat that a thermal printer emits makes the dye react to the chemicals, producing a black (or red or blue) color. The print head of the thermal printer heats specific areas of the thermal paper, which in turn, create legible print.
Thermal paper has 3 layers.
The substrate or base layer is essentially just ordinary paper. It contains gelatin, starches, and alkali salts. These elements allow the heat to move safely across the paper.
The second layer is the active layer. It holds the chemicals that enable the paper to react to the heat.
The third layer contains protective elements. It keeps the print from fading. (It is important to note that only certain kinds of thermal papers has this protective function).
How can you tell if paper is thermal?
Compared with ordinary paper, thermal paper feels different to the touch. It has a slick surface. You will find it difficult to write on thermal paper with a pen.
A simple test is all it takes to figure out whether a paper roll is thermal or ordinary.
Get about 6 or 7 inches of the paper.
Press your fingernail across one side and try to draw a line.
Thermal paper contains chemicals and dye. When you run your fingernail across the paper, you activate these elements and create a black line on the surface of the paper. Running your fingernail across ordinary paper will not create the same legible mark.
The imaging solutions can found on either side of the thermal paper.
Thermal paper rolls can either be CSO or Coated Side Out, or CSI or Coated Side In. If the fingernail test doesn’t work on one side of the paper, repeat it on the other side. If you fail to draw a line on both sides of the paper, this shows that the paper is ordinary, not thermal.