What is a Photocopier?

We've all done it - put parts of our bodies against a photocopier's glass and made copies. We won't talk about which body parts may have made their debut on a piece of paper, but it's safe to say that photocopiers have been a part of nearly everyone's life at some time or another. However, most of us have no idea what these machines are and how they work.

So, What is a Photocopier and How Does It Work?

A photocopier is actually more complicated than it seems. Using a process called xeroxography (hence the name of that famous company), the paper you are trying to copy is placed onto the glass of a copier and the drum in the copier is then charged electrostatically. In doing so, this drum then becomes conductive. The white parts of the thing to be copied are then exposed to light which creates positive charges at those points of the document while the darker areas are negatively charged. Since the toner for photocopiers is positively charged, it will attract the negatively charged areas, creating the image on the paper where the darker areas are - since positive and negative attract each other. The toner is move from the drum onto the piece of paper and the toner is then bonded to the paper to keep the image in place. A lot more complicated than you realized, right?

Now the charges can vary, depending on the toner and the drums being used, with the positive and the negative charge switching in the newer digital copiers of today.

What is a Photocopier Used For?

Besides copying your backside during an office party, you can use a photocopier to create multiple copies of a paper or an image. Photocopiers today also have color options, so you can copy in full color in addition to black and white. But as the printers that are used with computers become more efficient, it seems more people are relying on basic printer setups to do the printing work they need. Also, many offices are relying on paperless systems, so the need for printing is slowly going out of vogue. What does this mean for the precious photocopier? No one is quite sure. For now, you can still copy your hand to your heart's content - well, at least until your office's photocopier breaks down. Again.