Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Wall Paper Peeling Mystery' Explained By Physicists

Date:
May 11, 2008
Source:
CNRS
Summary:
When you try to remove adhesive paper from a surface, you inevitably get a pointy flap, while what you want is to remove the entire piece. Physicists have finally explained the physics behind this frustrating experience.

System used in controlled tear experiments: the tab is pulled at constant speed and the experiment is performed with films with different adhesive and mechanical properties.
Credit: Copyright E.Hamm, USACH

When you try to remove adhesive paper from a surface, you inevitably get a pointy flap, while what you want is to remove the entire piece. A team from the Laboratoire de physique et mécanique des milieux hétérogènes (CNRS/ESPCI/Universités Paris 6 and 7), collaborating with the University of Santiago in Chile and with MIT, has explained the physics behind this frustrating experience. The work is published in Nature Materials, and could be used in testing the mechanical properties of very fine adhesive film used in industry.

We’ve all been faced with the famous pointy flap tear: the piece being detached gets thinner and thinner as it is being pulled off, and ends up as a pointy flap instead of coming off as a whole piece of tape, wallpaper, film, fruit peel...  What causes the pointy shape? Why do the two edges seem to attract each other?  What determines the shape of the flaps?

With his Chilean and American colleagues, Benoît Roman, from the Laboratoire de physique et mécanique des milieux hétérogènes (CNRS/ESPCI/Universités Paris 6 and 7), has studied the problem from a theoretical and experimental point of view. The researchers have set up a system for controlled tear experiments: an adhesive film is glued to a surface, two slits are cut, and the system then provides a steady pull on the tab. The researchers then record the shapes of the flaps and the mechanical forces involved, for films with different adhesive and mechanical properties.

When the tab is pulled, after the two slits are cut, the flap stores elastic energy (if let go, it will unfold).  The system tends to dissipate this energy by minimizing the size of the fold.  The slits are naturally drawn to the areas of the system which are the most sollicited, namely those containing the greatest amount of elastic energy. In this case, that would be the folded part of the tab. They are irrepressibly drawn to each other, gradually reducing the size of the tab.

By analyzing these observations, the physicists have shown that the shape of the flaps is a triangle, with an angle depending on three characteristics of the adhesive material: its adhesion, its flexibility, and its resistance to tearing. The researchers have put together a formula which allows the characterization of one of these properties based on the other two and on a simple measurement of the angle of the triangle.

Materials engineers could use these results in industry to calculate one of the three properties when the other two are known.  This could be particularly useful for the characterization of ultra-thin films, which are difficult to manipulate and which are basic elements in micro- or nano-systems. These are already present in our daily life (such as shock detectors for the release of airbags, micromirrors used in second generation video projectors), and they will certainly have an important role to play in our future.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by CNRS. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Tearing as a test for mechanical characterization of thin adhesive films. Eugenio Hamm, Pedro Reis, Michael Leblanc, Benoît Roman and Enrique Cerda. Nature Materials, May 2008.

Cite This Page:

CNRS. "'Wall Paper Peeling Mystery' Explained By Physicists." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080509110717.htm>.
CNRS. (2008, May 11). 'Wall Paper Peeling Mystery' Explained By Physicists. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080509110717.htm
CNRS. "'Wall Paper Peeling Mystery' Explained By Physicists." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080509110717.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Company Copies Keys From Photos

Company Copies Keys From Photos

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) — A new company allows customers to make copies of keys by simply uploading a couple of photos. But could it also be great for thieves? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) — The Rockefellers — heirs to an oil fortune that made the family name a symbol of American wealth — are switching from fossil fuels to clean energy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: SpaceX Rocket Carries 3-D Printer to Space

Raw: SpaceX Rocket Carries 3-D Printer to Space

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) — A SpaceX Rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, carrying a custom-built 3-D printer into space. NASA envisions astronauts one day using the printer to make their own spare parts. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Inside London's Massive Sewer Tunnel Project

Inside London's Massive Sewer Tunnel Project

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) — Billions of dollars are being spent on a massive super sewer to take away London's vast output of waste, which is endangering the River Thames. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins