Engineers enhance the ordinary Tape Strength 60 Times by utilizing Ancient Japanese Cutting Art

By: | June 28th, 2023

Image by Alex Parrish for Virginia Tech.

Engineers in the United States have utilized Kirigami, an ancient Japanese paper-cutting art, to enhance the strength of regular tape by an impressive factor of sixty.

By refining this traditional technique, which is a variation of the popular paper-folding art origami, they have developed a method to significantly boost the adhesive bond of regular tape.

The market offers a wide variety of tapes to cater to different needs. These include double-sided tape, which is useful for various applications, invisible tape specifically designed for gift wrapping, electrical tape for insulating wires, duct tape, fabric tape, and medical tape.

Typically, these tapes adhere in a straight line along their length until completely removed, although strong adhesives can make peeling more challenging, while reusable adhesives prioritize easy separation over their strength.

What if you could create adhesives possessing both exceptional strength and effortless removability?

The team from Virginia Tech aimed to develop an adhesive that possesses both remarkable adhesion and effortless removability, by controlling the direction of separation. They drew inspiration from the techniques of the time-honored Japanese art form that dates back 2,000 years to unravel the secrets of achieving this feat.

“We realized that by using cuts, we could control how an adhesive separates,” said Michael Bartlett, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech.

The team found that by applying intricate cuts to adhesive tape, there was a significant 60-fold increase in bonding strength while maintaining easy removal. Remarkably, this technique proved effective regardless of the type of tape utilized, as kirigami enhanced the bonding capabilities of every tape variant they tested.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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