What I’ve Got: Corrugated Paper Cups

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One of the first items I saw in Iceland was a corrugated paper cup. While I admit my curiosity may have been piqued by some post-flight haze, I’m still struck by the cup’s simple, functional design. As a hot chocolate lover, I’ve had my fair share of experiences with getting burned through thin paper cups. The corrugated paper cup prevents this with vertical ridges around the cup, which allow the user to hold their beverage while insulating their fingers with multiple layers of air, one of the best thermal insulators, and paper. This solution also obviates the need for wasteful alternatives such as “double-cupping” or annoyingly loose cup holders. Although the cup is a somewhat everyday item, as a physics major, I’m impressed by how the cup is a confluence of efficient design, simplicity, and knowledge of thermodynamics.

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