Click below to watch a video, to show paper cups supporting a 1987 Nissan Sentra SE with only 104 cups! Shortly after this we decide to have some fun, and we make a two-tiered stack using over 250 cups. We don’t know if this will be of any use to the internet besides the hilarious waste of Starbucks cups!
Paper cups are amazing, seriously. Can you imagine just over 100 cups supporting a vehicle weighing over 2,000 pounds? Well get ready, because you don’t have to imagine it! We’ve recently been donated thousands of these 4 Oz sample cups from Starbucks, they are all Christmas decorated and no longer useful. Not to them anyhow. This all started when Steve stood on only 5 cups side by side under one foot and the little hamsters in our brains took off.
Lets do the math:
1987 Nissan Sentra SE curb weight: ~2,500 lbs
Steve weight 160lb divided by 5 cups = 32 lbs/cup !
2500 lbs divided by 32 lbs/cup = 79 cups (rounding up, cant use .1 of a cup)
So that means we should be able to support the whole car with less then 100 cups! That is an incredible amount of strength for such a small and lightweight object that is simply nothing more than paper and wax. We then tried even less cups, Steve attempted to stand on 4 cups arranged in a square. The cups promptly flattened After a couple cans of liquid Intelligence we discovered Steve’s body weight could be supported by only 4 cups if we double stacked them. The footprint of only 2 cups is all Steve could stand on, so Steve stood carefully with both of them under the ball of his foot. Success! This method of double stacking means each cup can support an astonishing 40lbs of force. This isn’t the maximum limit, but we noticed this is close to the point at which the lip of the cup will deform and unevenly distribute the weight. A collapse usually follows deformation of the cup. Check out the stills below of the construction.