Origami Lifting Power

I recently watched an amazing documentary on Nova about the engineering developments using the principles of origami folding. They gave examples in building designs, medicine, mechanics, aeronautics, architecture, outer space design, and so much more. As a hobby I have experimented with the power of a piece of paper in its weight bearing abilities. I thought you would enjoy seeing one example.


In this example I used two standard 3″x5″ cards folded with accordion pleats. How many books do you think one card can hold up?


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Notice I placed two smaller books on the sides to prevent the paper from sliding outward. The cards still support the entire weight of the books.


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You can see that the larger books are resting on the cards and not the smaller books.


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In total, the cards were able to support the weight of seven large books. When weighed, that equals 10 lbs. Who would have thought a tiny 3″x5″ card could support so much weight?


When used in weight bearing applications the paper is sandwiched between an outer frame that keeps the sides from slipping out yet still allowing the internal paper to support the weight.

Keep your ears and eyes open to hear and see many of these origami principles being used in the news. More and more people are realizing that origami is not just a kid’s hobby. Did you know that many of the most famous scientists experimented with origami? Other notables were famous authors, musicians, magicians, doctors, architects, and more. Why not do a little research about the history of origami? It is very interesting.

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