Number of Times You Can Fold a Piece of Paper in Half – The commonly accepted wisdom is that you can’t fold a single sheet of paper in half more than seven times. The problem with folding paper in half multiple times is that the paper’s surface area decreases by half with each fold.
- A single sheet of paper may be easy to cut, rip, or tear, but a paper that has been folded in half multiple times becomes very strong because of the increase in density.
- The sevenfold limit holds true if you are using a standard size sheet of printer paper.
- However, if you alter the size or thickness of the paper, you can increase the number of folds that are possible. MythBusters, a popular science program on the Discovery Channel, once featured the paper folding myth on its program.
They determined that using a larger sheet of paper would make it possible to fold the paper in half more than seven times. MythBusters used a sheet of paper the size of a football field. By fold seven, everyone involved in the project finds it very difficult.
However, the team eventually manages to fold the paper eight times with no tools. With the assistance of a forklift and steamroller, they get the paper to fold 11 times. In 2001, high school student Britney Gallivan of Pomona, California, successfully managed to fold a paper in half 12 times by using a roll of long, thin specialty toilet paper that was 1.2 kilometers in length.
Her efforts were part of an extra credit project for a math class, in which she was challenged to fold anything in half 12 times. She first succeeded using thin gold foil and alternate directions of folding. Later, her teacher asked her to try the folding experiment with paper.
In 2012, a group of math students from St. Mark’s School in Southborough, Massachusetts, attempted to set a new paper folding world record by folding a toilet paper in half 13 times with help from their teacher James Tanton. However, unlike Britney Gallivan, they had taped together multiple rolls to make the toilet paper the required 1.2 kilometers.
Since paper that is taped together isn’t as strong as a single sheet, there is some debate as to whether this should count as a record-breaking attempt.
Can a paper be folded 8 times?
What’s the maximum number of times that you can fold a piece of paper? Asked by: Alice Sheridan, Essex Trying to fold an ordinary sheet of A4 paper suggests that even eight times is impossible: the number of layers doubles each time, and the paper rapidly gets too thick and too small to fold.
- Such ‘geometric growth’ effects are dramatic: in theory, 26 folds would make the paper thicker than the height of Mount Everest.
- The current world paper-folding record belongs to California high school student Britney Gallivan, who in 2002 managed to fold a 1.2km-long piece of tissue paper 12 times.
- Read more: Subscribe to for fascinating new Q&As every month and follow on Twitter for your daily dose of fun facts.
: What’s the maximum number of times that you can fold a piece of paper?
Is it possible to fold a paper 42 times?
Given a paper large enough—and enough energy—you can fold it as many times as you want. Problem: If you fold it 103 times (only if you could ), the thickness of your paper will be larger than the observable Universe: 93 billion light-years. Yes,on folding the paper 42 times,it would reach the moon.
Can you fold paper over 7 times?
Category: Physics Published: December 7, 2012 Public Domain Image, source: Christopher S. Baird. Nothing stops a piece of paper from being folded more than seven times if the paper is thin enough. Depending on the thickness and width of the paper, after a certain number of folds, the paper stack becomes thicker than it is wide.
- After that point, there simply is nothing left to fold, so the limit is reached.
- Each fold in half makes a paper twice as thick, so that n folds of a paper that has a thickness of t results in a total thickness of 2 nt,
- At the same time, every two folds cuts the width in half, so that n folds reduce the width w to (1/2) n /2 w,
If we say that a paper can’t be folded when its total thickness equals its width, then 2 nt = (1/2) w. Solving for n, we find that the maximum number of times a paper can be folded is: n = 0.96 ln ( w / t ) This equation assumes we fold side to side, then top to bottom, then side to side, etc.
Using this equation, a standard piece of printer paper has w = 8.5 inches and t = 0.004 inches, so that n = 7. So a standard piece of paper can indeed only be folded seven times. However, if we had an 8.5 x 11 in. sheet of paper that was a quarter as thick as normal, using this equation, we could fold it nine times.
If you take a roll of toilet paper and roll it out into one long line you can fold it even more. If you are folding in one direction however, you have to use (1/2) n w for the width, leading to the slightly different equation, n = 0.72 ln ( w / t ). If we take a super-jumbo-sized roll of toilet paper with a thickness of 0.004 inches and unrolled length of 170000 inches, using this equation we find we could fold it thirteen times.
Why can’t paper be folded 7 times?
What is the Seven Fold Limit? – It’s commonly accepted that you cannot fold a single sheet of paper in half more than 7 times, no matter what paper finish, size, or basis weight you’re using, for two main reasons:
Every time you fold your sheet, you reduce your total surface area by half, so eventually you simply run out of surface area to fold. Every fold also increases the strength of the paper. Think about it this way: when you try to tear a page out of your phonebook (if you still have one), it tears easily. But when you try to rip the entire phonebook in half, it takes a lot more effort. The same principle applies to folded paper.
If you’re a numbers person, think about the seven fold limit exponentially: 2 x = total layers of paper, where x = number of folds
|Number of Folds||Layers of Paper|
128 layers of paper? No wonder it’s hard to fold a single sheet of paper more than seven times.
How does folding a paper 42 times reach the moon?
Take a piece of paper and fold it in half. How many layers is it? (2) Fold it in half again. How many layers is it now? (4) Fold it in half again. How many layers now? (8) What do you expect to happen if you fold it in half a fourth time? (16 layers) Can you identify the pattern? ( if n is the number of times you folded, the pattern is 2