Why can’t you fold a piece of paper more than seven times?


If you have a normal sheet of notebook paper and
you try to fold it in half multiple times, you probably
cannot get it to fold more than 6 times. Maybe 7 if
you are really strong. That maximum limit is caused
by two things:

1) The number of layers of paper doubles with
each fold. So you start with a single layer, then you
have two layers, then four, then eight, then 16,
then 32, then 64 layers after six folds. Maybe if you
are very strong, and you use a pair of pliers, you
can get to seven folds and 128 layers, but it probably won’t be pretty.

2) At that point the sheet of paper is so small, and
the number of layers so large relative to the small
size, and the distortion caused by the folds so great,
that there is no way to fold it again. You can’t apply
enough leverage, and the fibers of the paper do
not have enough flexibility for another fold.

But what if you used a much larger piece of paper,
so that you can diminish the effects of fold
distortion and paper fiber flexibility? If you use a
big enough sheet of paper, you can get to 11 folds,
or 2,048 layers, before you reach the limitations of
folding.

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