The Physics of Crumpled Paper

How is it that a crumpled paper ball, with nothing else to support it but its own folds, is somehow a useful packing tool?  Why is it that you can crumple a piece of paper, and toss it, and it suddenly becomes a heavy projectile?  Apparently, though these questions might seem simple, the answer is complex.  More complex than the most sophisticated software, apparently:

Despite technological advances, it is still extremely difficult to peer inside a simple scrunched-up paper ball with any detail. Computer science hasn’t been much help. It has been impossible to pinpoint the physics involved because even the most sophisticated hardware and software fail when trying to recreate the sheer complexity involved. There are simply too many variables.

[Read More: New Scientist]


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