The Effect of Weight on Paper Airplanes

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Paper weight affects paper airplanes.
Paper weight affects paper airplanes. (Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Christian Guthier)

Building paper airplanes can be a fun exercise in aerodynamics. And one of the most important aspects of paper airplane construction is the weight of the paper used.

Fact

A paper's weight is determined by the weight of 500 sheets as measured in pounds. Standard line paper averages between 16 and 20 pounds, depending on the quality.

Significance

Paper provides the airplane’s structure, and the paper’s weight can determine the plane’s design, durability, and performance.

Solution

According to the makers of HowToMakePaperAirplane.com, the ideal paper weight for constructing airplanes is between 18 and 28 pounds.

Effects

Using paper that’s too light will make the plane flimsy and unstable in flight, allowing air gusts to knock it off course. Paper that’s too heavy, while making the plane resistant to wind, will create more drag in the air and limit flight distance.

Features

The paper’s surface can not only contribute to its weight, it’s also an important factor in flight. Smoother surfaces offer less air resistance and prolong flight.

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