# Folding a paper

KLscilevothma
folding paper

Why can't we fold a piece of paper more than 8 times, no matter how large it is?

PS I've seen this question in another forum quite a long time ago but no one seems to know why. Some claimed that it can be explained by using some chemistry principles while others said it is related to math.

Last edited:

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Math/physics.

Try it...with standard thickness paper, it just gets too thick/small to fold. Even with a large sheet, the powers-of-2 still rapidly cut the size down and make it unfoldable. (I'm sure there's a more elegant explanation than that, but that's all I have time for at the moment!)

But I think it can be done with thinner paper.

Mentor
If someone offered you $20 a day for a month or$.01 the first day, $.02 the second,$.04 the third, etc., which would you choose?

And how many pieces of paper would you be folding that 8th time?

Ahh, the power of exponents.

KLscilevothma
the power of exponents
Yeah, I thought of it too when I was on my way back home from school.

However, as long as the dimensions aren't negative (and it will never be negative by folding), I think we can fold it, not by human but by machines. I think it is we who aren't strong enough to fold it, but not machines.

plus
Originally posted by russ_watters
If someone offered you $20 a day for a month or$.01 the first day, $.02 the second,$.04 the third, etc., which would you choose?

And how many pieces of paper would you be folding that 8th time?

Ahh, the power of exponents.

Well, 2 to the power of 30 is roughly 1,000,000,000
so you would make roughly $20, 000, 000 the second way versus$600 the first.

I know which one I would choose.

maximus

Originally posted by KL Kam
Why can't we fold a piece of paper more than 8 times, no matter how large it is?

do we know it's impossible. they should make a machine do it. you know, without stubby little fingers!