Using abrasives to remove toner-print so that office paper might be reused

T. A. M. Counsell, J. M. Allwood

If laser-print could be erased like pencil then entire sheets of office paper could be reused without the need for recycling. This article is a feasibility study on the use of an abrasive process to remove toner-print (the type of print used in laser-printers and photocopiers). The effect of varying abrasive grit size, speed, distance, load and repetition are explored. Two distinct wear regimes were visible. With larger grit sizes and at higher loads the surface layers paper were rapidly removed together with the print. At smaller grit sizes and lighter loads, the print was smeared and then slowly removed with less damage to to the paper. A reusable sheet of paper was obtained by pressing a 22 View the MathML sourcem grit silicon oxide abrasive with a force of 0.3 N and rubbing at a speed of 6 m/s for approximately 6 s on each character. This result must be validated on other toner and paper combinations. The potential for exploiting adhesive wear to improve performance is then discussed.