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How does bubble wrap become bubbly? © Alamy

How does bubble wrap become bubbly?

Asked by: Connie Foy, Buckinghamshire

Invented in the US in 1957, bubble wrap is made by heating a thin sheet of plastic film as it passes between perforated rollers. Air is blown through the holes in the rollers, to stretch half-dome bubbles in the sheet. Then a second layer of plastic is bonded underneath the sheet, to seal the air into individual bubbles.


Bubble wrap can be recycled at some facilities, but there are more environmentally friendly options. One alternative, for example, uses kraft paper that’s been stamped with a special pattern of slits, which allows it to be pulled into a honeycomb-like mesh that can be wrapped around fragile items.

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luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.


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