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Scrunch time: The peculiar physics of crumpled paper

Discussion in 'Science & Technology' started by qubit, Jan 6, 2012.

  1. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

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  2. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

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    Has anyone tried scrunching paper down really flat and seen just how hard it is to do? I have and it really is surprisingly strong.
  3. Completely Bonkers New Member

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    You can open a bottle (crown) with a single sheet of paper.
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  4. FordGT90Concept

    FordGT90Concept "I go fast!1!11!1!"

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    Paper has the same strengths (tensile strength) and weaknesses (will fail when stressed on its shortest dimension) of steel but at a fraction of the thickness. If you could crumple up a sheet of steel, it will exhibit the same strengths as crumpled up paper on the larger scale. This is because you're making arches and triangles (two of natures strongest shapes) inside the structure which makes it resistant to crushing. Concrete is resistant to crushing but will fail when stretched. Crushing paper and steel also makes it resistant to further crushing while maintaining it's ability to be stretched resulting in something like rebared concrete but without the concrete.

    Yes, it's difficult to simulate because you have to know the location and weakness of every fiber that is going to give out before the rest of them. You also have to consider that the fibers in paper don't want to be crushed (think of trying to crush paper rolled up) so when they fail, they buckle, creating those triangles and arches I mentioned above.

    ...another good example is those Chinese finger puzzles that demonstrate fiber's strength through its ability to stretch.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2012
    Crunching for Team TPU

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