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Egg drop help (Design choice)

  1. Oct 11, 2012 #1
    Hello, everyone, I am doing an egg drop for my science class, (not sure where to put it so I put it here, sorry if it's the wrong place.) and I have developed a few designs. I would like to know which you think would be most successful. (Dropped from gym class bleachers.)


    Must be smaller than a piece of paper.
    Can have parachute.
    Must be able to see at least part of the egg.

    Design 1:

    For this design, I would take a piece of foam or sponge, carve out a cavity for the egg to fit in, fill it with some type of padding, place the egg inside, and make a window on top to see it.

    Design 2:

    A box made of cardboard, filled with padding surrounding the egg, a window on top, (when I mean window I mean something like clear plastic wrap) With a parachute attached with string.

    Design 3:

    A paper folded into a cone shape, with padding inside.

    An addition, it would be nice to know which is lightest. (there is a challenge to see which is lightest and still survives.)

    Thanks in advance. :3
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 12, 2012 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    With these things, the trick is to do some trials.
    How far the egg has to survive is important ... and remember that you can use the parachute to direct the point of impact.
    Will a normal egg-carton be enough to save the egg?

    What about taping a parachute to one side of the egg and a soft bumper (foam, sponge) to the other side? Make the chute out of the lightest stuff you can find.

    Note: "smaller than a piece of paper" is not much of a restriction - paper is pretty much 2D ... what is the volume limit?
    (with those dimensions, could you add a helium balloon?)
  4. Oct 12, 2012 #3


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    Check the exact rules. Are you sure you aren't limited to a single sheet of paper?

    How about cutting up a bath sponge or similar to make say 6-8" long spikes. Stick all over the egg. Mainly works as a shock absorber but may also reduce terminal velocity if dropped from height.
  5. Oct 12, 2012 #4
    There is no width limit, but it has to be smaller than a piece of paper (height and base).
  6. Oct 12, 2012 #5
    That's probably the best idea, i'll do some testing. But you didn't mention the cone design. I've seen some videos with a cone design and they worked quite successfully. What do you think about that? With the cone design, the point isn't to have a parachute, but for the tip and the padding to take the full force of the impact.
  7. Oct 12, 2012 #6

    Simon Bridge

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    The cute thing about the cone is that the shape channels the initial impact around the egg and guides the air-flow so that the point almost always hits first. Feather the open end of the cone to help. Pad the egg in place.

    As usual - do some trials: eggs are fairly cheap.
    How much do you really need to pad the egg?
    Will you have to allow for bouncing?
    Do you have to pass a standard or it is a contest - if a contest, how is the winner decided (some function of weight of container vs height survived so a light contraption that can fall a long way wins?)
    What is the highest the test drop will be?
    What surface does it have to land on?

    I'm not going to hep very much because the point of the project is to get you thinking scientifically about these things.
  8. Oct 12, 2012 #7
    I've seen the cone idea work well for an 80 ft drop in which you win if the egg survives and you have the shortest drop time. Put fins on it and let it fly like an arrow or rocket. They used several sheets of paper laminated with glue for more thickness.

    Edit: the cone needs to crush on impact for energy absorption.
  9. Oct 12, 2012 #8
    I know i'm supposed to think about it, just asking for a bit of advice for what you think would work best. Trust me, I have a LOT of work I'm doing by myself ahead of me. About the top of the bleachers in my gym is the height, but i'm not sure how tall that is. And there is a graded part, and a contest. The contest is to see which is lightest, but the egg still survives. Thanks for the help so far, I might have a few extra questions, but I need to test right now.
  10. Oct 12, 2012 #9
    That's interesting, it's just a standard drop though. I'm not sure if I can use a cone now that I think about it, because no piece can break in the air or on impact, but i'm not sure if that counts as "breaking", or just "absorbing impact", and won't affect my grade.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2012
  11. Oct 12, 2012 #10
    Both my daughters did the egg drop as well. The first one used a box, bubble wrap and a helium filled balloon to slow the descent.

    The second one put the egg inside of a large stuffed animal and heaved it over the side.

    Both eggs survived intact. :)
  12. Oct 13, 2012 #11
    Lol stuffed animals is an awesome idea! Thanks for the help everyone!
  13. Oct 17, 2012 #12
    My idea is a foam football, which I carved out a slot and window for the egg. It survived many times at over the height limit, so I suceeded!
  14. Oct 18, 2012 #13

    Simon Bridge

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    Go stuffed toy!! ... and if it sported the logo of your school football team bonus marks?
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