Saurabh Varma

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Chemical and Paper Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Margaret K. Joyce

Second Advisor

Dr. Dan Fleming

Third Advisor

Dr. Alexandra Pekarovicova

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The most commonly used system of writing by and for blind persons is called Braille, named after its French inventor, Louis Braille (1809-1952). Braille is comprised of a rectangular six-dot cell on its end, with up to 63 possible combinations using one or more of the six dots. Braille is the only reliable method of literacy for blind persons, because it enables them to read and write by touch1.

Currently, Braille is printed by special embossers that serve as a printing press. These embossers create Braille output when it is attached appropriately to computers. The speed of these generators ranges from 25 characters per second to 60 characters per second11. This study is focused on a novel based Braille printing ink. A water-based ink system was developed with appropriate physical properties, to enable the creation of raised Braille dots on the surface of paper without the use of an embosser. The ink utilizes a thermally activated blowing agent, which releases CO2 gas into the deposited ink layer during drying. The CO2 gas raises the ink layer to heights acceptable for the blind to distinguish by touch. The height of the dot can be controlled by the amount of blowing agent added. The work shows promise as an alternative printing method to embossing.