MadSci Network: Chemistry

Re: What is the chemical formula for the reaction of Blueprint paper and light.

Date: Tue Nov 2 15:38:04 1999
Posted By: Larry Lear, Staff, Registered Architect w/B.A. in Exp. Psychology, Hobbs + Black Assoc.(Architects)
Area of science: Chemistry
ID: 940526277.Ch

Hi Jimmy Wu:

My answer to you is based on my experience as an architect, not a chemist, so please bear with me and forgive me if I extrapolate.

One can reproduce a multitude of exact reproductions, off this single carefully drawn image. In architecture (as in other disciplines), it is important that many different people recieve these exact representations so that detailed work can be coordinated across disciplines. These images also need to hold up to the rigor of the construction site and the dirty hands of many construction workers, etc... Numbers cannot be smeared or flake off, and the blueprint performed very well for this task.

Blueprints were commonly used 50+ years ago, but are not seen anymore. Current forms of reproduction include "blueline" ammonia (diazo) prints (these are a dark blue line on light blue paper) and most recently, electrostatic printing. Some people feel that the latter catagory will be the standard in a few years. The electrostatic type prints are first digitized for accuracy (to prevent distortion)- a translucent sheet is not needed. The print is then produced from the digitized information in the quantity required. Although similiar, the standard office "xerox" should not be used due to the distortion that may occur through the optical equipment.

Today, 95% of all architectural "drawings" are plotted onto translucent paper (for blueline reproductions) or bond paper (for electrostatic reproductions) from a Computer Aided Design (CAD) station. Hand drawing is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, however, early in the design process most architects still use free hand techniques.

Hope this answers your question and provides some perspective, thanks for the question.

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