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(I'm not sure if this question belongs to this stack exchange, but it seems appropriate to me)

I have a very practical situation and our knowledge is lacking to be able to solve our debate.

The situation

In our country, and I'm guessing everywhere in the world, people seem to always fill their drinking glasses with about one or even half a page of newspaper. I'm talking about regular 20 or 30 cl drinking glasses or mugs.

When asked why they do this, it is to "protect the glass". The most scienty of them told me "the pressure given by the paper inside the glass helps hold its integrity in case the glass undergoing opposite pressure from the outside (which it most likely is considering it's packed in the same box with many other glasses).

My argument is that the glass being a solid and pretty much not flexible at all, you'd have to put a huge amount of paper in each glass to actually make a difference.

Ideally, not adding too much pressure from the inside to not break it that way, but filling it so that there is as little air as possible seems to me that this is the safest option. But that is by far the worst in terms of using paper and time consumption.

What I told them to do is focus on the outside of the glass when packing. Adding a few layers of very scrunched paper to act as some kind of "spring" all outside the glass, therefore spreading the pressure coming from the outside into the paper, instead of helping the glass sustain said pressure by adding pressure from the inside.

The questions :

  • What solution works best to protect the glass ?
  • What solution is actually viable, not costing 20 minutes per glass and thousands of pages of newspapers.
  • Is there anything else to this?

Note that I am not a native english speaker and there might be false friends between our languages.

By "pressure" I mean the act of applying a force onto a surface.

"Scrunched" was google translated, it should mean "the extreme opposite of flat, like when you make a ball with paper and then expand it again"

Thanks for reading and for your time :)

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  • $\begingroup$ For long term storage or just putting it into the kitchen cabinet until the next day? $\endgroup$ – ratchet freak Mar 20 '18 at 13:24
  • $\begingroup$ For short term storage, this debate started when we actually moved houses and started packing. So, about 1-2 days of storage. $\endgroup$ – Gil Sand Mar 20 '18 at 13:36
  • $\begingroup$ Putting packing inside a glass is usual when packing or storing other things inside the glass - that way making the most of the volume available... As long as they don't get to move... $\endgroup$ – Solar Mike Mar 20 '18 at 14:05
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    $\begingroup$ The length of storage doesn't matter - it's the handling that will take place. $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Mar 20 '18 at 15:47
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    $\begingroup$ While I agree that static pressure from the inside is unlikely to be any use at all, I'd find it more plausible if the paper did somewhat reduce the cracking risk by inhibiting vibration modes. This way, body waves from a collision at a sturdier piece of the wall don't get to travel uninhibited to the rim or stem where cracks can much easier form. $\endgroup$ – leftaroundabout Mar 20 '18 at 15:59
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In itself putting paper inside a glass will make very little difference. Glass is a brittle material and tends to fail by shock and point loading. Its static tensile strength is actually pretty good.

What will help is packing paper between the glasses as it will help prevent them coming into contact with each other and dampen vibration and impact forces. Without going into actual numbers you want it crumpled so it has a bit of stiffness but still with enough give that it is fairly springy.

Where putting paper inside the glasses may help it that it is filling space so that there is less chance for the packaging to move around and create gaps by working its way into the empty space inside the glasses.

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  • $\begingroup$ Also, some glasses are stack able, and it may be desirable to place paper between these $\endgroup$ – Jonathan R Swift Mar 20 '18 at 15:36
  • $\begingroup$ I should've made this clear, but indeed most of my glasses are stackable, and since I always have "overhead paper" when wrapping paper around my glasses, I just put all the extra paper inside said glass to provide smooth stacking. $\endgroup$ – Gil Sand Mar 20 '18 at 15:41
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    $\begingroup$ Definitely to prevent scratches is a reason for using a thin layer of paper when stacking - a scratched glass seems often more likely to break in relation to the surface damage. $\endgroup$ – Darren Mar 20 '18 at 19:11
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Filling inside the cup with paper is just to lock in the wrapping of the same paper around the glass.

  • It also offers coverage and protection of the rim of the glass.

  • Because of the integrated, all-around coverage the whole package remains intact in the box with no chance of clinking against each other and it renders strength to the box as well.

  • It is even easier and faster to wrap glasses this way, because you can cut your paper random in size and just stick the left-over in the glass.

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  • As you have correctly guessed, putting crumpled paper inside the glass would not have any protective benefits. Glass itself is a hard, but brittle substance and thus would need to be protected from impact forces.

  • I moved my household stuff between two cities a month back and have realized that wrapping the glasses in flat, uncrumpled is not the best strategy. Wrapping a glass in crumpled paper is better, but still might leave a couple of relatively under-protected resulting in chips. Even though I do not like this approach, this is the easiest one.

  • The best protection would be offered by styrofoam or similar materials. While getting individual foam cases would be a pain and a huge waste resources, you could always toss small foam cubes between your paper-packed glasses.

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I think of a few benefits of adding the paper inside:

  • I think the glass is weaker from the inside than the outside, so any hard object somehow falling towards the inside of the glass would have a cushion.
  • In case the glass breaks, the paper inside might also be a better (or at least an extra) barrier for shards, possibly avoiding a chain reaction.
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