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Dropping an egg without breaking

  1. Jan 2, 2007 #1
    Dropping an egg without breaking....

    So I have to make a container no larger than 10cm x 10cm x 10cm.

    An egg has to be placed inside the container and dropped from a height of 20ft, and the object is for the egg to survive the fall and not break.

    This is a competition, and points are awarded for
    1) The egg not breaking
    2) The smaller the volume and mass of the object gets more points.
    3) The time it takes someone to "load" the egg into the box needs to be minimized for more points.

    Other than that, anything goes. I'm trying to make something light that will absorb enough of the shock that the egg can survive, but its not really heavy. Any ideas are welcome though :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 2, 2007 #2
    Maybe something that is cushy in the inner surface would do the trick?
  4. Jan 14, 2007 #3
    I'm thinking the opposite.
    Armour that (A) distributes the forces equally over as much of the egg's surface, (B) does not deform on impact (which again is equal distribution of forces)

    What about a two-part shell that is cast with the egg inside it? Something like autobody repair resin? Use some Saran wrap so it doesn't stick to the shell and the two halves do not stick to each other, and it splits apart like a clamshell when it's cured. Drill holes and insert 1/4" steel pins to keep the two halves from slipping out of alignment. Strapping tape to hold the two halves together after you put the egg inside for the demo.

    Oh, wait, do you get the actual victim egg before the competition? My scheme requires that the container is molded around the actual egg in order to obtain a perfect fit (egg-shell to armour interior). It would not work for any other egg.

    Okay, plan B:
    A very rigid steel cage slightly less than half-flled with plasticene clay. Push the egg into the clay so that there are no air spaces between it and the clay. Squish some more clay over the top of the egg, close the cage, and drop. The steel shel prevents deformation of the overall device, and the clay gives the equal distribution of force.

    Plan C
    Maybe Silly Putty, just on it's own, no steel cage. Maybe an inch thick all over. It has strange properties when it's suddenly subjected to tension or pressure, as if it suddenly goes rigid for a split second. It'll probably bounce like crazy, but so what? If it survives the first hit, it should survive the bounces.
  5. Jan 16, 2007 #4


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    Homework Helper

    One clever alternative to the typical foam filled box is a suspension system inside a frame. You make an egg "hammock", that surrounds the egg. The suspension system is made with high strength latex tubing, strong enough to keep the egg from reaching the perimeter of the frame. The frame can be something fairly solid. However, at 10cm per side, the foam inside a box concept is going to be hard to beat. Also thinking outside the box, how large would a helium balloon have to be to support or partially support the weight of an egg?
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2007
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