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Egg drop contest

  1. Nov 8, 2009 #1
    Alright. Um. We have 4 sheets of newspaper and 1 meter of masking tape. We have to design a structure to catch four eggs dropped one after another from a point at a height of 6 ft.

    What do you guys think? We've tried making just a simple 'basket' filled with crumpled paper and it doesn't work because the egg just goes right through the crumples straight to the bottom and the eggs break.

    Any ingenious ideas?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 8, 2009 #2
    how about two or three baskets one on top of the other? As soon as it goes through one, it may have slowed down enough to not go through the other?

    Also, for the physics of it, force is change of momentum over time (impulse). In this case, you want the lowest force possible on the egg and newspaper, so you want the egg to change its speed as slow as possible (momentum is mass times velocity). How about folding it accordion-like as many times as possible somehow? (and of course, leaving enough space in between each fold to give the egg time to fold the newspaper and not just crash through it)

    I think some kind of shape like that would be optimal. Now for the part where they're dropped one after the other, I guess you'll need some kind of ramp to allow the eggs to get out of the way before the next one comes in, and quick enough, although that sounds annoying to have to do.

    But yeah, that's the physics of it usually. An interesting case is in cars. The hoods for example, are made to crumple easily upon impact because in a crash, the act of crumpling gives the car more time to change its momentum and thus receive a weaker force to itself (and the driver). I don't know if you knew that, but I think it's interesting anyway. Good luck,

  4. Nov 8, 2009 #3


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    Gold Member

    Your initial conditions as posted don't require that the eggs are captured unbroken. That gives a lot of leeway.
    Secondly, you don't say anything about the eggs having to be unboiled at the outset. That again makes a large difference as to how many angles of approach are available to you.
  5. Nov 9, 2009 #4
    I would try a "funnel like" device similar to the thing that was being engineered as a deployable fire escape.
    funnel to tube about the same diameter as the egg

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