Why You Can Fold A Piece Of Paper Only A Certain Number Of Times

Making paper planes and creating origami is a fun activity, but I’m sure it’s got some people thinking about how many times they can fold a single piece of paper.

For some time, experts believed that number was seven. Then, in 2002, a high school senior named Britney Gallavin proved that a single sheet of paper could be folded in half 12 times.

But why? Mental_floss reports, it is a, “lesson in exponential growth, the idea being that each fold doubles the paper’s thickness, and even with something as thin as paper, quickly you’ll end up with an unmanageable mess, too thick to fold further.”

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To prove this, Gallavin used a 4,000-foot sheet of paper and folded in a single direction. She even created a mathematical equation to provide empirical proof that this was possible.

Although most standard pieces of paper won’t be able to fold over that many times, Gallavin proved that you could exceed seven folds. While we’re at it, here are some more interesting facts about paper:

Photo by georigami

Photo by georigami