How thick is a 100-dollar bill? The thickness of money, especially banknotes, is something that many people are curious about but may not think to measure themselves. If you’ve ever wondered just how thick a 100-dollar bill is, you’ve come to the right place.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: a standard U.S. 100-dollar bill is 0.0043 inches (0.11 mm) thick.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore various aspects related to the thickness of 100-dollar bills, including:

The Actual Thickness Measurement

Using a Caliper to Measure

The most accurate way to measure the thickness of paper currency is by using a caliper. A caliper is a precision measuring instrument that can accurately measure small distances. To measure a $100 bill’s thickness:

  1. Place the bill flat on a table.
  2. Open the caliper jaws and place one jaw on each side of the bill, applying light and even pressure.
  3. Read the measurement on the caliper display. Most standard calipers measure in millimeters (mm) to the hundredth place past the decimal.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Printing and Engraving, $100 Federal Reserve notes, printed on 75% cotton/25% linen paper, measure 0.0043 inches thick. Converted to metric units, the thickness is 0.11 mm.

Thickness Compared to Other Bills

U.S. currency paper gets progressively thicker as the bill denomination gets larger. However, the  $100 bill’s thickness is similar to the $1 bill’s thickness.

Bill Denomination Thickness (mm)
$1 bill 0.11 mm
$5 bill 0.12 mm
$10 bill 0.13 mm
$100 bill 0.11 mm

Interestingly, even though $100 bills are the largest denomination in circulation, they are not the thickest. The $10 bill takes that honor. However, the differences in thickness between denominations are extremely small, just fractions of a millimeter.

The thickness of U.S. currency has changed little over the decades. In 2019 researchers measured 56 random $1 bills ranging from 1957 to 2009. The average thickness was 0.11mm with a tight distribution around that mean (Jain and Agrawal, 2019).

This suggests today’s $100 is likely very close in thickness to 20th-century C-notes.

How does the U.S. $100 thickness stack up to bills from other countries? Fairly average it seems. The Australian $100 banknote measures 0.14mm while the 500 Euro from the EU is just 0.08mm thick (CRL Group, 2020). So America’s C-note sits comfortably in the middle.

Factors that Contribute to Thickness

Paper Quality and Density

The paper used for US currency is composed of 75% cotton and 25% linen, giving it a crisp texture and notable durability. This special paper blend provides thickness and strength to withstand frequent handling and transactions.

The paper is milled by Crane & Co., the primary supplier of currency paper to the US government since 1879. Their proprietary process produces paper with exceptional longevity Federal Reserve notes can reportedly last up to 30 years in circulation before requiring replacement.

In addition to the cotton-linen construction, the paper itself has a density of about 90 g/m2 or 0.012 inches thick. This thickness comes from the high pressure used during paper production, compressing the fibers tightly together.

So while regular printer paper may be around 0.004 inches thick, the compressed currency paper contributes noticeable thickness to each banknote.

Ink and Security Features

The complex engraved designs and security features printed on banknotes also add depth and thickness. Intaglio printing presses apply tremendous pressure to press the paper into engraved metal plates, essentially creating an indentation and raised ink on the paper surface.

Adding physical texture in this manner thickens each note while creating intricate designs full of fine detail.

In addition, the array of overt and covert security features increases overall density. For example, color-shifting ink on the $100 note has an embedded foil component, microprinting utilizes tiny font sizes, and a 3D security ribbon houses images that appear to move as the note is tilted.

While nearly imperceptible individually, the compilation of measures results in currency with enhanced thickness and complexity overall.

Durability and Wear

Brand New vs. Circulated Bills

When crisp, new $100 bills first enter circulation from the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing, they exhibit the highest paper quality and durability. However, with use over time, wear and minor damage inevitably occur.

Let’s compare some characteristics of new and circulated 100-dollar banknotes.

  • Paper Quality: A brand new $100 bill consists of 25% linen and 75% cotton paper blend, giving it a crisp feel and making it resistant to deterioration. After months or years of circulation, the paper quality declines slightly, becoming more flexible and soft.
  • Color: The intricate green color of new $100 bills is bright and consistent. After circulation, the color tones may become slightly muted or uneven in some places where handling has occurred.
  • Marks and Soils: While no folds, writing marks, or stains are present when new, circulated bills often exhibit minor discolorations, creases, or pen marks from use over time.

However, even with some circulation wear, $100 bills remain highly usable and commonly accepted. Gradual small changes are normal and do not affect value.

Effects of Folding and Damage

$100 banknotes can withstand typical folding into wallets or money clips, but frequent harsh folding can weaken bills over an extended period. According to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, folded or torn U.S. currency remains usable and retains face value as long as more than 50% of the original note is present.

Let’s examine the types of damage:

  • Minor tears – Small edge tears or holes less than 1/4 inch wide do not affect the usability or value of $100 bills.
  • Moderate tears – With 50-75% of the bill intact, torn $100 banknotes can be exchanged at full value at banks and some retailers.
  • Severe damage – Extreme tears over 75% missing or markings covering portraits generally render $100 bills unfit for circulation.
Damage Level % Intact Usability
Minor > 75% Full Value
Moderate 50-75% Full Value
Severe < 75% Void

The durable paper and fabric composition of $100 bills allow them to remain in circulation for up to 15 years according to the Federal Reserve, withstanding normal folding, small nicks, low spoilage, and minor staining over time before replacement.

However, unsightly damaged banknotes are often removed sooner. The condition of paper money is one sign of how robust the $100 denomination remains as an exchange medium.

Thickness in Context

How Many Bills Make a Stack?

The thickness of U.S. currency can be easier to conceptualize when considering a stack of bills. For example, a stack of 100 new $100 bills is about 4.4 inches thick. Since each bill is 0.0043 inches thick, multiplying that by 100 bills results in a total stack thickness of 0.43 inches.

In contrast, a stack of just 10 new $20 bills would be around 0.86 inches thick. So while a single bill’s thinness can be hard to visualize, the thickness builds up rapidly when multiple bills are stacked.

As bills get older and more worn, they can compress and become thinner through use over time. So a stack of 100 used $100 bills could end up thinner at around 3.5 to 4 inches, compared to 4.4 inches for new bills.

The soft cotton-linen paper material compacts after going through thousands of transactions. But currency paper also has durability – the average $100 bill lasts around 15 years before needing replacement.

Worldwide Banknote Thickness Comparison

Banknote thickness varies worldwide based on factors like security features and paper choice. According to the global banknote manufacturer Louisenthal, the average thickness for the latest banknote issues is:

  • Euro: 0.11mm
  • U.S. Dollar: 0.0043 inches (0.11mm)
  • Mexican Peso: 0.0013 inches (0.033mm)
  • Chinese Yuan: 0.08mm

So the Mexican peso is exceptionally thin, only about a quarter the thickness of a euro or U.S. dollar. This shows the range of thickness in modern banknotes.

Currency Thickness
Euro 0.11mm
U.S. Dollar 0.11mm
Mexican Peso 0.033mm
Chinese Yuan 0.08mm

The thickness has an impact on storage and transportation capacity as well. For example, a standard currency box stores 10,000 new U.S. dollar bills per box. If the currency was thinner like the Mexican peso, then capacity could increase.

So central banks weigh security, durability, and logistics when considering specifications like banknote thickness during new design launches.

To understand more, the Louisenthal website details international banknote capabilities.

How Thick Is A 100-Dollar Bill – Conclusion

We’ve explored the precise thickness measurement of 0.0043 inches for a 100-dollar bill, as well as the various factors that contribute to its density, durability, and how its thickness compares to other currencies around the world.

While the thickness of money may seem mundane, having this level of detail helps satisfy curiosity and gain a bit more insight into something that passes through our hands every day.

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