How Strong is a Cardboard Box

There’s a reason that cardboard boxes are so popular that
you notice them used by every single business in the world. Not only are they
lightweight, environmentally friendly, cost-effective, and pretty capable of
protecting most contents, they are also known for their rigid strength. For
something that is made out of paper, it might surprise you just how much
durability is in it. But exactly how strong is a cardboard box?

Simply put, cardboard boxes seem almost disproportionately
strong. Single wall cardboard boxes are likely to be able to hold up to
anywhere between 30 and 80 lbs, depending on their quality and size. Meanwhile,
double walled cardboard boxes can hold approximately 60 up to a whopping 150
lbs in weight.

When you consider what cardboard boxes are made of, this
feat is incredibly impressive. Cardboard itself is a single corrugated sheet,
and a single wall box is simply made from Kraft paper and glue. Three sheets of
the aforementioned paper are simply stuck together using a cornstarch adhesive,
then folded into the box shape and assembled. Yet somehow, these simple
elements add up to a very strong container.

What gives it its strength? How can something that is half
air and half paper be capable of these feats of strength? The secret is in its
construction, which is easier to understand when you relate it to normal
construction. Pillars and beams are incredibly small compared to the structure
of an entire building, but they are capable of adding valuable and needed
support to a structure that would collapse without them.

The corrugated form of cardboard adds wonders to its
strength, with the middle sheet acting as a form of support that adds strength
to the two outer sheets. To make it easier to understand, think of a standard
steel I-beam used in construction work. Although it has a simple structure, its
design allows it to support large amounts of weight.

The same can be said for cardboard. Think of the small
corrugated areas as miniature I-beams. To oversimplify, it works similarly to
how a bridge does. It uses a form of truss structure that adds extra strength
to its interior and exterior walls. This means that double walled cardboard is
every stronger.

Still, different cardboard boxes have different strength
limits, but you do not have to worry about overfilling a box because you’re not
sure how much it can take. Every box has a mark on one of its corners that
demonstrates its box certificate score. This score will detail how much weight
it is able to hold up and how much force its corners, edges, and sides can
stand before crushing and giving way. Some boxes also include information about
their threshold for resisting punctures or their strength against being bent.

In a nutshell, the strength of cardboard boxes lies in the
ability of manufacturers to use simple materials that are weak individually,
isolate and spot their strengths, and use those strengths positively. While on
their own, sheets of paper may not be able to stand very much, when carefully
crafted in order to resist strong pressure, they create one of the most
intriguing yet simple marvels of the shipment and packing industries: cardboard


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