We’re all very familiar with scratch cards. They’ve been around seemingly forever and though some are fancier than others and though they’re now used for far more than instant lotteries, they still basically work the same way all these years later. You scratch at the weird silver material until you get to the numbers (or symbols or letters) below, which will let you know whether you won or not.
Have you ever wondered, though, what these cards are made out of and especially what that weird silver stuff actually is?
Read on to find out!
The Card Itself
This is the easy part. The cards themselves are, pretty much, made of whatever they happen to be made of. Obviously, this doesn’t include metal or anything beyond something that is either plastic or paper-based, but the actual material is entirely up to the manufacturer. The main thing is that they should be relatively cheaply made, but also durable enough to last at least until they’re in the hands of potential customers. Most importantly, they should make it as easy as possible for customers to be able to rub off the silver stuff with nothing more than a coin or a fingernail. As such, they’re often made with a cardboard base and then laminated or are made with a light plastic.
The bigger question is what on earth that silver stuff actually is.
The Silver Stuff
There are actually somewhat conflicting reports on what the silver strip (or box or circle or whatever) is actually made of. One of the more popular beliefs that is almost definitely wrong is that it is made of a compound known as silver nitro oxide, which is rumored to cause cancer. It’s not even clear whether the compound itself exists, but if it does, it certainly is never used for these purposes.
More likely, is that it’s made either from a specially treated latex material or a special kind of ink that hardens under UV lights into that strange silver coating that doesn’t stick to the writing underneath or erase it.
Either way, they’re a lot easier to make than they look.