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Detecting Counterfeit Money experiment

To develop a method for determining if U.S. currency is authentic or counterfeit.


Safety Precautions: Do only under adult supervision. Do not stare at the black light, as ultraviolet light can be harmful to the eyes.


Must have a dark room, place the various US bills under the black light. Observer the color of the plastic strip within each bill.


All new bills within the United States (Expect for the one dollar bill) have recently been redesigned. Each contains a thin, narrow plastic strip embedded within the bill itself, which is only visible if held up to the light. The strip within each type of bill will fluoresce a specific color if placed under an ultraviolet light. In the $5 bill, the strip will be blue. In the $10 bill, the strip will be orange. The $20 bill contains a yellow-green strip. In the $50 bill the strip will be yellow orange. The $100 bill contains a pink strip. These colors will vary somewhat under different wavelengths of ultraviolet light. It would be extremely difficult for a counterfeiter to place this strip with a counterfeit bill.


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