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Homework Help: Egg drop project landing module

  1. Feb 8, 2015 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    For my 8th grade honors science class we are currently doing astronomy. We got assigned a project where we have to create a landing module like the module that people land back on earth in. The catch is that it has to be able to fit in a 10cm x10cm x10cm box and be able to fit a large sized egg so the hatch has to be approx. 5.8cm x4.3cm. The drop height will be about 3 meters and has to land upright on the concrete floor so that the hatch can be reopened to remove the egg to check for cracks and whatnot. It also has to have like handles or something so that it can be held. The module itself cant have any glass, liquid padding, or any food like peanut butter. We are also able to use small parachutes.

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I was thinking of like a Pyramid type module so that when it is released at approx. the air will be pushing back on the large bottom when dropped making a natural airbrake. What is your guys' opinion?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 8, 2015 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    Welcome to PF;
    I think you should build a pyramid and drop it and watch how it falls and you will answer your question.

    When you think of a design, try to build it so it can be tested - then test it out. Do pyramids generally fall bottom first for example? What's wrong with just building a 10cm cube?
    Doing the experiment is a big part of science, and this assignment - so go do it and see.

    Your main issue is not so much that the container should remain intact, but that the egg should remain intact.
    The rest is window dressing. What is it about the fall that breaks the egg?
  4. Feb 8, 2015 #3
    The force of the impact is what breaks the egg. ^^
  5. Feb 9, 2015 #4

    Simon Bridge

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    Kinda - what is it about the force of the impact that makes it hard enough to break the egg?
    Have you had a go dropping some pyramids yet?
  6. Feb 9, 2015 #5
    What are the allowed materials and what not? In doing this a while ago, I found it often was best to make a simple design, as anything else often resulted in complications. Such as one simply consisting of a harder layer, then cushioning (as much as possible, followed by the egg, and using something to hold it in place . Also, it seems paramount in this assignment that it lands bottom down, keep that in mind during your design.

    And (out of curiosity) how exactly are the parachutes allowed? Do they have the same requirements, or any size requirements? Using them can lower the speed, but if made imperfectly can cause problems.

    And if possible, you should try and test your designs when able, since I have found, that depending on what your given, results can vary immensely.
    And with a pyramid design, try simply dropping some roughly pyramid shaped object (like a common 4 sided die if you have one) from different heights to get a good feel of how it may fall, and just because you have a large surface (such as the bottom of a pyramid), does not necessarily mean it will be slower, try testing your design against the basic box restriction, or a sphere, to make certain it is an improvement.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2015
  7. Feb 10, 2015 #6
    The parachute will be draped over the box, but on release the chute wont be held any certain way. Our teacher has us doing the project in phases and the first phase is a sketch of our landing module. We can use any materials we want, but no glass, liquid padding or food like peanut butter.

    The module hitting the ground would cause shockwaves to go through the craft which may reach the egg causing damage I believe.
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