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All Egg Drop Experts, Help

  1. Sep 9, 2004 #1
    I am helping my son with the following:

    Egg Drop Competition

    Design a package to hold an egg during a 6' drop without breakage.
    Score is based on how close to the target the package lands and tie
    will be decided by lightest package.

    The Competition:

    1. All pre-constructed packages will be brought to the drop sight.

    2. The Egg:

    - Each team will recieve one Large Grade A egg on sight
    - Students are responsible for the egg during loading, dropping, and
    - Inspection of the egg should occur by both judge and team members
    upon recieving the egg. Once the team recieves the egg all questions
    regarding its conditions becomes null and void
    - The team must hand the egg to the judge once the drop is complete
    3. The Package

    - The package mmust be constructed at home
    - maximum size is 8" X 8"
    - max weight is 2 lbs
    - no glass or metal
    - package may not contain anything that would aid it in sticking to the
    target (tape, rubber, ticky-tak, ect...

    4. The Drop

    - package dropped free fall by one student from at least 6'.
    - There will be one drop with a time limit of 2 minutes from the time
    judges say begin

    5. The drolp area will be 2' x 2' and made of a solid material
    (plywood or cardboard) with a target in the center.


    Only eggs surving will be scored. The farther distance of any part of
    package to center of target will determine score. Shortest distance

    Tie breaker goes to lightest package.

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 9, 2004 #2

    Chi Meson

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    Homework Helper

    Go for light-weight, almost everyone will successfully not break the egg if the drop is only 6'. I've had my classes drop their eggs from 25 feet, and very few of them broke.

    And you do NOT want the backage to bounce (bounces break eggs).
  4. Sep 9, 2004 #3


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    Staff Emeritus
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    It sounds like the judge is expecting people to use parachutes. If you build a "crumple" style package, you can probably hit the target very closely. It will probably take a fair amount of calculation and testing to build a good "crumple" package - where the package crumples to protect the egg and keeps the acceleration low. "Toothpicks and glue" are a classic crumple design, but you'll have to do some research and probably some testing (at home) for yourself to come up with a winner.
  5. Sep 10, 2004 #4
  6. Sep 10, 2004 #5
    Yeah I wouldn't worry about the egg breaking
    I had to do something simliar except in a coffee can
    My package did great
    I could through it over a 2 story house down an extra 50 ft and it couldn't break the egg.

    Just work on accuracy.
  7. Sep 10, 2004 #6
    maybe tiped arrow design that is planed to crumble when it hits
    if it is only 6 ft
  8. Sep 11, 2004 #7
    Wow! When I was younger, I took part in a competition in which we had to design an egg-drop device out of only newspaper and cellotape! Then, we had to drop it from a height of TEN FEET! My egg did not survive the fall. Can anyone please tell me how to my design could have worked? No one's egg survived in the competition! :eek:
  9. Sep 14, 2004 #8
  10. Sep 14, 2004 #9


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    Homework Helper

    There's an old addage:
    It's not the fall that hurts, but the sudden stop at the end.

    There are really two basic things that an egg drop can do:
    Slow the rate of fall. (Parachutes) These egg drops work by making the impact so slow that it wont break the egg.
    Reduce the impact impulse. (Cushions) If you have a large cushion, then the egg will impact the cushion and stop over a longer distance rather than stopping over a short one. This reduces the force on the egg.

    It should be possible to construct an effective egg drop with either of those two tactics using only newspaper.

    Regarding the original post:

    In general, my advice would be to talk this over with your son, and have him propose ideas (keep the two things above in mind). Look for ideas that are easy to build, cheap, and easy to test. Invest in a dozen eggs, and try the ideas.
  11. Sep 14, 2004 #10
    Nate TG made a couple very good points.
    The impulse he is reffering to is related to momentum. Impulse is equal to the change in momentum that occurs (in this case the change in momentum starts with the eggs initial momentum (eggs mass X velocity) and 0 (because the egg will stop). Change in momentum is also equal to the total force X change in time. Because the force of the fall will remain the same, you must find a way to increase time. This is where a cusion could come in handy.
    Using a combination of a parachute and a cushion would be the most effective way to ensure the egg doesn't break.
    Most importantly you must remember it is your sons project, and he won't learn anything if you do it all. Let him come up with ideas, and support the ideas that are logical.
    Oh yeah... have fun with it too! :smile:
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