Polymer Banknote

Polymer banknotes were developed by the Reserve Bank of Australia, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, and The University of Melbourne and were first issued as currency in Australia in 1988. These banknotes are made from the polymer biaxially-oriented polypropylene which greatly enhances durability. They also incorporate many security features not available to paper banknotes, making counterfeiting much more difficult. As of 2010, eight countries have converted fully to polymer banknotes: Australia, Bermuda, Brunei, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea, Romania, and Vietnam.

An alternative polymer of polyethylene fibres marketed as Tyvek by DuPont was developed for use as currency by the American Bank Note Company in the early 1980s. Tyvek did not perform well in trials; smudging of ink and fragility were reported as problems. Only Costa Rica and Haiti issued Tyvek banknotes. Additionally, English printers Bradbury Wilkinson produced a version on Tyvek but marketed as Bradvek for the Isle of Man in 1983; however, they are no longer produced and have become collectors’ items.

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