Paper Frictions

Research Team: Lorenzo Guiducci, Maxie Schneider, Jojo Shone, Prof. Christiane Sauer, Prof. Peter Fratzl

Cluster of Excellence Matters of Activity. Image Space Material, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Weißensee School of Art and Design Berlin
Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces

The research project is a continuation of the Design research studio of Prof. Christiane Sauer, Department of Textile and Surface Design, Weißensee School of Art and Design Berlin

Image credit: Michelle Mantel
The "Woven Paper Bridge" explored the potential of paper as a building material for the construction of interwoven structures. By simply stacking and interleaving sheets of paper, it is possible to create connections that can support tonnes of weight through friction alone. The extraordinary large traction force needed to separate two stacks of interleaved paper sheets (popularly known as the phonebook enigma) is caused by a geometric amplification of friction. Although its origin is well described in the literature (Alarcon et al. 2016), this remarkable interfacial effect has not been further explored in terms of possible applications. Therefore, we create higher-level assemblies of stacks of paper sheets, connected only by interleaving, and evaluate their tensile behaviour. Structural principles have been adapted from biological and physical principles to create a 5-metre-long hanging bridge and a triaxial woven pergola, both capable of supporting up to 3 personas simultaneously.

The project cas been presented at the Bauwende Festival 2022, Rundgang weissensee kunsthoschule Berlin  2022 and The European Mechanics of Materials Conferences (EMMC) 2024.

Image credit: Michelle Mantel