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Homework Help: Hi I'm Brittney and i'm new, i need help help on a physics project!

  1. Feb 27, 2008 #1
    Hi I'm Brittney and i'm new, i need help help on a physics project! :)

    Hi, I'm new on the forum. I have a physics project and i figured that someone could help me on my design. we are doing an egg drop competition i will start off by showing you the rules and regulations..

    The purpose of this contest is to design and build a container that will prevent a fresh raw egg from breaking or cracking when it is dropped from a height of 8 m (26 ft). The winner will be determined based on the following criteria:

    1. Egg does not break
    2. Fastest fall time
    3. Lightest container

    A. Weight of container:__________g
    B. Time for fall:_____s
    **Mass + (10 x time) = _______
    ** lowest number is winner. If your egg breaks you will be disqualified.

    1. All containers must fit into a cube with inside dimensions of 30.0 cm x 30.0 cm x 30.0 cm.
    2. The container may not change shape or size during the fall.
    3. One raw white grade A large egg will be given to each contestant the day of the competition. contestants may not use their own eggs.
    4. All containers shall be loaded by the contestants and dropped by the instructor. Containers must be labeled with your name and a mark indicating the top.
    5. The dropped container shall be opened by the contestant in the presence of the instructor.

    1. No liquids or anything that will splatter
    2. No high viscosity objects (ex:peanut butter, jelly etc.)
    3. No sharp objects or hazardous materials
    4. No mechanical power (ex: wind-up propeller)
    5. Device or container must be homemade (ex: no airplane kits, nurf balls, etc)
    6. weight of device or container (without egg) cannot exceed 200 grams

    Any help with design ideas would be very much appreciated.
    I was thinking something with bubble wrap or Styrofoam, but i'm not sure how to keep the egg in place or even how to put the bubble wrap. I'm not really good at physics, and i dont really have anyone to ask for ideas. Please help.

    Brittney :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 27, 2008 #2
    In fairness we can't tell you what to do or how to build it, but there's dozens of ways to do it successfully anyways

    First make sure you understand the problem. If you drop an egg WHY does the egg break when it hits the ground? This sounds simple, but it's because it stops. If you try to catch an egg that someone drops, what would you do to not break it instinctively? You'd slow down how long it takes you to stop it, by moving your hands with it and gently slowing it to a stop. The faster it stops, the more force is being applied

    So the three things you can do
    A)Slow the overall speed of the container so it's just not going very fast (this never works in these things, and the rules prohibit the necessary things like parachutes)

    B)Don't let it stop at all! Unfortunately gravity DOES exist and this isn't so much an option

    C)Make the container stop it slowly

    You've got the right idea with things like bubble wrap and styrofoam, the big mistake people make is trying to make a really rigid container that doesn't break. Well if you're driving a car made of iron that rams a wall going 50 mph, that doesn't really do you any good at all, does it? In fact it would do you a lot worse. So you want the container to give and break and crumple or whatever, to slow the deceleration
  4. Feb 27, 2008 #3
    Okay i see where you are coming from, but how could i slow the fall, my grade is based on a fast drop.
  5. Feb 27, 2008 #4
    Well like I said you're not gonna really be able to do that

    I wouldn't even worry about speed and weight yet, first make a design that actually keeps the egg alive.
  6. Feb 27, 2008 #5
    I was thinking i could either use like two sponges and wrap them around the egg holding them together by a rubber band. or i could do something with marshmallows...
  7. Feb 27, 2008 #6
    Marshmallows is a neat idea...if you get something like that that works it's probably gonna fall slow (but doesn't everything accelerate at 9.8 m/s^2 on earth? Well...in a vacuum. We're definitely not in a vacuum)

    If it survives impact with the ground it should survive being put on top of a small weight, and you can experiment to find out what works best(because if you add mass, it'll fall faster, but weigh more, so you can figure out the optimal combination)
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