Paying with plastic is steadily becoming the only option. Germany recently unveiled their design for a coin that incorporates a novel thermoplastic polymer material. The Commonwealth had already set a precedent with Australia at the head of the pack, being the first country to launch a thermoplastic coin design. Canada and the U.K. quickly joined in but Germany will mark the first country outside of the Commonwealth to work the thermoplastic polymer into its currency.
A Design That Integrates a Thermoplastic Polymer
The €5 coin was developed by Stuttgart Ministry of Finance based in Baden-Württemberg with the support of the Lieibniz Institute of RWTH Aachen University. The thermoplastic material uniquely allows the coin to be minted as if it were metal without compromising any of its properties. A basic structure finds the thermoplastic polymer ring fixed between the outer disk and center disks which are comprised of cupro-nickel. Blue color pigment is infused into the clear polymer. More importantly, the design of the thermoplastic polymer is such to allow for heightened security features. The bond between the cupro-nickel and plastic has strength equal to that of a bond between two metals joined in common coins.
One coin face depicts an etching of the planet earth while the other side presents a stylized eagle. Both images are bordered by the blue thermoplastic polymer. Pigments of any color can be injected into the polymer but the color blue was decided upon as representative of the planet’s atmosphere. Sticking with the planetary theme, the coin also features the remaining 8 planets of the solar system etched into the coin’s outer edge.
The Benefits of a Polymer-Infused Coin
A €5 coin with incorporated thermoplastic polymer holds several benefits that warrant the decade of work put into its design. Built-in-features of the plastic ring make the coin a significantly greater challenge to counterfeiters. Designers claim it would cost immense amounts of money and effort to accurately duplicate the coin’s precise thermoplastic infused design.
Designers also hope that the German public will embrace the new coins due to general wear and tear on the current €5 bank notes in circulation. A sturdy, rugged coin design is being pitched as more ideal for the heavy traffic endured by the very popular €5 denomination of currency.
Ambitions for the New €5 Coin
The thermoplastic infused coin is due to debut at the World Money Fair in Berlin in February of 2016. The unveiling has been a long time coming with Stuttgart Ministry of Finance and the Bavarian Mint collaborating with the Lieibniz Institute of RWTH Aachen University for almost 10 years. All 5 of Germany’s state mints are expected to begin working the thermoplastic material into the new €5 coin shortly after the forging of the dies, which is taking place presently.
Currently, the new €5 coin is only being considered for legal use in Germany. European Central Bank’s current €5 bank notes will remain in circulation. However, designers intend for the European Central Bank to adopt the new piece of currency after seeing the benefits of a €5 coin that makes innovative use of a thermoplastic polymer design.