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[BKARTS] Spine bending and breaking on paperback books

   Recently I have made quite a few different styles of paperback test
books. I started to notice that on very thin paperback books under 100
sheets or 200 pages, the spine is not that strong in the lengthwise
direction. After all there is only a thin piece of paper cover stock and
thin layer of glue to prevent the spine from bending. When too much pressure
is applied, the cover stock starts shearing and coming apart.
   I went to the local library and examined books. All older thin perfect
bound magazines have the spine broken in numerous places. The same was true
for most older thin page size paperbacks. Some of the old magazines I have
at home don't even have a spine because the spine was bent and bits of the
spine sheared and broke off.
   One of my latest test books used vinyl coated cover stock. In the latest
I used a cold laminate over cover stock. When I apply a reasonable amount of
pressure, the surface vinyl or laminate starts shearing and bunching away
from the glued spine. When I tested a plain paper softcover the binding
shattered into pieces. Lay-flat RepKover books I found were weaker than
perfect bound books and bent very easily and started cracking the spine.

   Now I can see one big reason for having hard cover books. The covers
being stiff also prevent the spine from bending along the lengthwise

   I noticed that some manufactures use a spine reinforcement strip to
provide some added strength to the spine. Of course this limits the
flexibility as  Peter Jermann points out in his article flexible strength
http://www.temperproductions.com/flexible_strength.htm and so I can't use
this in my lay-flat books.

   I made one test book with a very stretchy spine. The book opened very
flat. Also I could wrap the spine in a circle in the lengthwise direction.
It looked terrible in this state but when I straightened it out all the
pages and the spine were still intact. But the book looks funny because just
holding it in your hand makes the book curve. It is great for putting in
your pants pocket! Would people object to this kind of curving in a book?

   I have tried to find information on the Internet as to how much of a
problem spine bending and breaking is. Surely it is a huge problem in
shipping. What about books in backpacks?

Ben Wiens...applied energy scientist
Ben Wiens Energy Science Inc.
8-1200 Brunette Ave. Coquitlam BC Canada V3K1G3
E-mail: ben@benwiens.com
Energy Website: http://www.benwiens.com
Read my popular web-booklet "The Future of Fuel Cells"

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