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 Write-up

Title

Paper Folding

Problem Statement
If a piece of paper could be folded in half fifty times, what would be the thickness of the folded paper? A ream (500 sheets) of paper is 2 inches thick.

Problem setup

This problem is asking you find out what the height of a piece a paper would be if it was possible to fold it fifty times.

Plans to Solve/Investigate the Problem

My initial plans to solve this problem are to go to Excel and create a spreadsheet.

Investigation/Exploration of the Problem

My first step once I opened the spreadsheet was to label my columns.  I labeled the first column number of folds and the second, number of sheets.  From the equation, I know that each sheet of paper is .004 inches thick.  I found this out by dividing 2 by 500.

To find out how tall the sheet would be, first I had to figure out how many sheets on top of each other would be equivalent to folding the piece of paper in half fifty times.  The following chart gives lets me now how many pieces each folding would be equal to.

 # of Folds # of Sheets 0 1 1 2 2 4 3 8 4 16

 49 5.6295e+14 50 1.1259e+15

Once I found out how many sheets would be equal to fifty folds, I multiplied this number times .004 to get the number of inches.  Once I had the total number of inches, I divided that number by twelve and this gave me the number of feet.  This was such a large number that I chose to convert the feet into miles.  In the end the height of the piece of paper that was folded fifty times was 71,079,539.57 miles high!  This is more than three quarters of the distance to the sun.

Author & Contact
Benjamin Moore
My Email