Beulah, Peel Me a Piece of Copy Paper

The surprisingly rich physics of peeling paper

[T]he physics of peeling paper almost exactly mimics the stick-slip movement of tectonic plates, right down to the statistics of the time between “quakes” and the correlations between released energy and aftershock activity.

From the preprint, “Line creep in paper peeling:”

For paper, we use perfectly standard copy paper, with an areal mass or basis weight of 80 g/m2. Industrial paper has two principal directions, called the “Cross” and “Machine” Directions (CD/MD). The deformation characteristics are much more ductile in CD than in MD, but the fracture stress is higher in MD [20]. We tested a number of samples for both directions, with strips of width 30 mm. The weight used for the creep ranges from 380 g to 450 g for CD case and from 450 g to 533 g for MD case.

I’ll never look at copy paper the same way again.

0 thoughts on “Beulah, Peel Me a Piece of Copy Paper

  1. This is really interesting. We hear all our lives that “the same equations have the same solutions”, but it’s really amazing when systems with (at least on the surface) very different equations have the same solutions.

  2. Pingback: Paper Plates