Skip to content
Menu

Ancient Japanese Art Of Kirigami Used To Make Tape 60 Times Stronger

Engineers at Virginia Tech find a way to make adhesives both strong and easily removable using 2,000-year-old art form.

Kirigami – the ancient Japanese art of cutting paper – has been adapted to make sticky tape SIXTY times stronger.

American engineers honed the traditional art form, a variation of origami, into a method for massively increasing the adhesive bond of ordinary tape.

Adhesive tape fulfills many purposes, from a quick fix for broken household appliances to ensure a reliable seal on a package to be posted.

When using tape with a strong bond, removing it may only be possible by scraping and prying at the tape’s corners, hoping desperately that surface pieces don’t tear away with the tape.

But Professor Michael Bartlett’s team at Virginia Tech wanted to do know if it was possible to make adhesives both strong and easily removable.

Bartlett said: “This seemingly paradoxical combination of properties could dramatically change applications in robotic grasping, wearables for health monitoring, and manufacturing for assembly and recycling.”

He explained that adhesive tapes were first developed in the 1920s to meet a need for car painters who wanted better options for painting two colors on vehicle bodies.

Bartlett shows the laser cuts made in tape at his Virginia Tech lab. When using tape with a strong bond, removing it may only be possible by scraping and prying at the tape’s corners, hoping desperately that surface pieces don’t tear away with the tape. ALEX PARRISH/SWNS 

Bartlett said: “Since the first masking tape was put into use, many other variations have been created.

“Factories have rolled out the invisible tape for wrapping presents, electrical tape for covering wires, and duct tape for more uses than it was ever intended to fill.

“Normally, when tapes are peeled off, they separate in a straight line along the length of the strip until the tape is completely removed.

“Strong adhesives are made more difficult to peel, while reusable adhesives promote the strength-limiting separation.”

His team worked out that if the separation path were controlled, then perhaps adhesives could be made both strong and removable.

They tapped into the methods of the 2,000-year-old Japanese art form to determine how to do it.

Produced in association with SWNS Talker

Edited by Saba Fatima and Asad Ali

“What’s the latest with Florida Man?”

Get news, handpicked just for you, in your box.

Check out our free email newsletters

Recommended from our partners