Paper is versatile and useful in many ways, but one thing I wouldn’t describe it as being is “sturdy”. If you want to write a short thesis or a grocery list, paper pretty great, but I wouldn’t trust it to keep me safe in a knife fight, for example.
As we all know, there’s definitely safety in numbers, and trying to rip a phonebook in half is much tougher than trying to rip a piece of paper in half. But just how tough can a large stack of paper really be?
To answer that question, it’s time to turn to the hydraulic press. It’s a delightfully simple process, but that hasn’t stopped the videos themselves from being incredibly satisfying, or the Hydraulic Press Channel on YouTube from reaching nearly two million subscribers.
In the past, the hydraulic press has destroyed batteries, hamburgers, as well as the previously-thought-indestructible Nokia 3310, but in 1,500-sheet stack of paper, the Hydraulic Press faced its toughest test yet.
Having only risen to prominence over the last year or so, the Hydraulic Press Channel does exactly what it says on the tin; destroys stuff with a 144-ton hydraulic press. Under that much pressure, pretty much everything buckles; plastic, steel, electronics, as well as the toughest of all materials: fruit.
So what would happen when you put the so-far-undefeated hydraulic press against a huge stack of paper? In order to find out, the Hydraulic Press Guys underwent two tests; first, they used 1,500 standard A4 sheets, then attempted to crush thicker paper pulp using the same press. Would this finally be the time that the hydraulic press met its match?
Close… but no cigar. You can hear the hydraulic press struggle against the paper, and for a second, it looks as if the press has met its match. Eventually, after three attempts, the hydraulic press is victorious, and with a not insignificant bang, knocks a GoPro flying with a paper explosion!
Even if you’ve watched a few of these videos before, you must be wondering how just stacks of paper can act in such a way, let alone succumb with such a loud bang. Under the immense pressure of a hydraulic press, 1,500 sheets of stacked paper tend to act as one giant block of wood or plastic, explaining why it flies off in chunks once defeated.
Then, it’s the turn of the pulp sheets to go under the press. Even though the stack is significantly smaller than that of the A4 sheet, it fares pretty well, before going out with an even louder bang!
Although there’s so much we know about materials and how they behave under normal circumstances, there’s also just no telling what will happen under significantly atypical conditions. I hope you or I will never be at the mercy of a 144-ton hydraulic press, but if you suspect that you may have to be subjected to this particular fate, be sure to carry 1,500 sheets of paper with you at all times. It might just save your life.