# I Can a sheet of paper cut something if thin enough?

1. Jun 19, 2017

### esimp18

I have been arguing with my friends about this question and we need some educated opinions on it. I think that if a piece of paper in thin enough it can cut something. These are the details:

1. "thin" in this case means extremely thin
2. The paper can not be used to saw or swipe( it would be cutting like a guillotine)
3. you can choose the object (for example a tomato will be reasonable)
4. the piece of paper will have some tension to keep it from bending but not much(about as much tension as you can make by pulling on both ends of a piece of paper)

Example of this experiment would be someone holding a piece of thin paper vertically(with tension) and someone drops a tomato a few feet above the paper. will it crumple or slice the tomato

My argument is that because the paper is so ridiculously thin, that paper will be able to slip between the bonds of the tomatoes particles and without much force. Kind of like how a dull knife requires a lot of force to cut a tomato but a sharp knife requires less force. Can a piece of paper be so sharp as to not require much force(sturdiness) to cut a tomato.

Last edited by a moderator: Jun 19, 2017
2. Jun 19, 2017

### Orodruin

Staff Emeritus
Short answer: No. You cannot make a paper so thin that it slips "in between bonds". What do you think paper is made of?

3. Jun 19, 2017

### nasu

You never had a paper cut? It can cut your skin quite easily if you are not careful.

4. Jun 19, 2017

### A.T.

5. Jun 19, 2017

### A.T.

Peeled?

6. Jun 19, 2017

### rumborak

I think the rules are a bit too wide. If I can choose the object, I choose a blob of razor foam. Will a static piece of paper cut that? Certainly.

7. Jun 19, 2017

### A.T.

Scissors cut paper.
Paper cuts foam.
Foam corrodes scissors.

8. Jun 19, 2017

### rumborak

9. Jun 20, 2017

### CWatters

Can I fold the paper to make it thicker and stronger?

10. Jul 3, 2017

### the_valence_electron

but if its thicker the pressure applied will decrease therefore it will not cut any object.

11. Jul 3, 2017

### CWatters

I think that depends how it's folded.

12. Jul 3, 2017

### hilbert2

You can't keep the paper exactly straight and at exact 90 degree angle relative to what you're cutting, so there will be buckling/bending that will ruin the experiment.

13. Jul 3, 2017

### Steelwolf

I think that one would have to have 'paper' built along the lines of the near atomically thin diamond 'film' that they have managed to create. The film would be technicaly strong enough, hard enough and thin enough to cut, however, being held as the above experiment states, the top edge is very likely to roll and at that point collapse as it quits cutting and takes the weight load and merely further deforming.