Physics involved in an egg-drop project

• Yellowkies_3275
In summary, the egg-drop project involved suspending an egg using a parachute. The main physics involved is the deceleration and impulse caused by the large surface area of the parachute. The equations for this were not explained in the conversation, but the pillow creates a spring-like effect that delays the egg's impact.
Yellowkies_3275
Apparently I'm absolutely clueless on how to stick to this format I will try my best regardless, don't kill me if I mess up...I don't need another thread deleted...I'm not ready for my flame to be snuffed :p

1. Homework Statement

So like...the egg drop project (Yes we are only on this, I feel stupid for understanding so little, on a classic part of physics that everyone does :' )
Anyways we have to write about the physics laws that influenced our design

Homework Equations

ummm? this is where i need help

our design was basically a giant pillow

like I don't know exactly what physics go into this, everytime i get an idea of what's going on I search it up and don't get anything relevant to what I was thinking of

and now I'm pretty much lost

I know something about gpe to ke is going to be relevant right, I was trying to look into how the area of an object affects the distribution of impact...does this even make sense though? like if you have a bigger object the wieght is distributed more evenly so that like its not putting al of the force of impact on a small spot that won't be able to handle so much force...I thought this makes sense but I cannot find any clarification on it, nor do i have any actual equations to explain this

The Attempt at a Solution

SO yeah I was just wondering

If our design was basically a big paper pillow...and it succesfully kept the egg from breaking from 3 meters what physics is involved and how soalso I have the mass of the object as a whole if that's relevant to anyone

Ok, when I did my egg-drop project in school (everybody does), I used a parachute attached to a little basket where I kept the egg. The egg was in suspension using rubber bands incase the parachute failed.

For me, before doing the egg-drop I was supposed to do this task. I used the surface area of the parachute to show the deceleration and the tension in the elastics to show that there will never be a sudden change in momentum (thus destroying the egg).

The pillow does two things. First of all, it creates a lot of a air resistance since it has a large surface area, but this has a relatively small effect compared to the second thing. The thing that destroys the egg is the impulse, the change in momentum, the change in speed, the force of gravity. You can argue that the pillow provides an spring effect. Since it is soft, it takes a little while for it to be compressed and for the egg to feel the full force of the ground.

Normally, the egg would simply hit the ground and lose its momentum in seconds, the pillow however, lengthens the time for the egg to slow down.

I hope you understand. Please let me know.

Yellowkies_3275
What breaks an egg? (distance? velocity? force? other?). Do you know any physics equations for force? If you do, write that down. Then look at the parts of that equation and say what you know about those. See how much of that you can state in terms of your pillow design.

Yellowkies_3275 and lekh2003
lekh2003 said:
Ok, when I did my egg-drop project in school (everybody does), I used a parachute attached to a little basket where I kept the egg. The egg was in suspension using rubber bands incase the parachute failed.

For me, before doing the egg-drop I was supposed to do this task. I used the surface area of the parachute to show the deceleration and the tension in the elastics to show that there will never be a sudden change in momentum (thus destroying the egg).

The pillow does two things. First of all, it creates a lot of a air resistance since it has a large surface area, but this has a relatively small effect compared to the second thing. The thing that destroys the egg is the impulse, the change in momentum, the change in speed, the force of gravity. You can argue that the pillow provides an spring effect. Since it is soft, it takes a little while for it to be compressed and for the egg to feel the full force of the ground.

Normally, the egg would simply hit the ground and lose its momentum in seconds, the pillow however, lengthens the time for the egg to slow down.

I hope you understand. Please let me know.
I already had some of these ideas in my head (though I did a terrible job explaining in the op) but I understand a little bit better now

My issue is I don't really know relevant equations for these sorts of things

Yellowkies_3275 said:
My issue is I don't really know relevant equations for these sorts of things
I don't think you are expected to know. This seems like a pretty basic physics experiment. The equations full dictating the effects of the pillow on the fall would be way beyond what you would have probably learnt.

Yellowkies_3275
lekh2003 said:
I don't think you are expected to know. This seems like a pretty basic physics experiment. The equations full dictating the effects of the pillow on the fall would be way beyond what you would have probably learnt.

I'm in 11th grade but like it's a more advanced class and I know everyones going to go out of there way to find info even if they don't really get it and it wasn't taught in class, and like I am interested in physics all though I am not the best at it so I unlike some of them actually want to learn these things...but it would also be nice to not be the only one who doesn't have any equations

Yellowkies_3275 said:
I'm in 11th grade but like it's a more advanced class and I know everyones going to go out of there way to find info even if they don't really get it and it wasn't taught in class, and like I am interested in physics all though I am not the best at it so I unlike some of them actually want to learn these things...but it would also be nice to not be the only one who doesn't have any equations
Ok, so your level should be relatively high. I am two grades below you, so I might not have the same capabilities as the rest of your class, but I'll give it a shot.

You can try and model the pillow under the egg as a spring. Maybe give it a coefficient, k, should be really small. Then you can, in real time, model the egg's position over time. You should then be able to find the instantaneous deceleration of the egg. Compare this to the relatively fast deceleration if there was no pillow. I do however have a feeling the pillow might not fit this spring logic, but its a start.

Yellowkies_3275
You may not know equations for the pillow, but you should know equations for the fundamental physics measurements involved in stopping an egg and the forces involved. Then you can just state in words how the pillow is supposed to keep the egg from breaking.

Yellowkies_3275
FactChecker said:
the fundamental physics measurements involved in stopping an egg and the forces involved.
Maybe I'm just really tired but...the fundamental physics measurements involved in stopping an egg... I don't know what you mean :'

Yellowkies_3275 said:
Maybe I'm just really tired but...the fundamental physics measurements involved in stopping an egg... I don't know what you mean :'
These equations would be the basic kinematic equations and momentum equations.

Yellowkies_3275
Yellowkies_3275 said:
Maybe I'm just really tired but...the fundamental physics measurements involved in stopping an egg... I don't know what you mean :'
Distance traveled, velocity, acceleration, and force. If you don't know the relationships between them, then you should study them and include them in your discussion of this experiment.

Yellowkies_3275
rip me :'

terrible question but why does impulse break the egg?

Yellowkies_3275 said:
terrible question but why does impulse break the egg?
@FactChecker

Yellowkies_3275 said:
terrible question but why does impulse break the egg?
I know you would like factchecker to answer, but a sudden change in speed or momentum will have a force on the egg.

Impulse is the change in momentum. You could also call it a sudden deceleration.

Yellowkies_3275
lekh2003 said:
I know you would like factchecker to answer, but a sudden change in speed or momentum will have a force on the egg.

Impulse is the change in momentum. You could also call it a sudden deceleration.
Oh i don't care who answers I just feel like I've pestered you more with my questions so I'm trying to distruibute the annoyance more evenly so that ur not getting tired of my lack of knowledge

OKay so so far what I have is this:

if it makes any sense

so the equation for change in momentum (ie impulse...right?) is
delta p = m* delta v

which because of what was learned in kinematics...delta v = a * delta t

so you could write:
delta p = m*a*deltat
which would just be

delta p= F*delta t

which is the equation for impulse

and now that I'm looking at it like that i mostly see why change in speed would potentially break the egg because like you said more force is excerted on the egg

So like you explained to me the pillow, which compresses upon impact with the ground, lengthens the time the egg has to slow down, which cause less force to be excerted on the egg (but more force on the pillow(?))so far does this make sense? It's mostly what you gusy explained to me i just want to double check anyway to make sure my wording is technically accurate

Yellowkies_3275 said:
Oh i don't care who answers I just feel like I've pestered you more with my questions so I'm trying to distruibute the annoyance more evenly so that ur not getting tired of my lack of knowledge
It's not an issue. We're just helping you out.

You seem to be on the right track.

Yellowkies_3275
lekh2003 said:
It's not an issue. We're just helping you out.

You seem to be on the right track.
okay thank you :)

@Yellowkies_3275 , I think you are on the right track.

The problem is that we can not give too much of the answer to homework problems, so our answers are vague and more in the form of leading questions. I recommend that you consider the difference between a thick, low density pillow and a thin, high density pillow and tie that to a measurable quantity (one of distance, velocity, acceleration, and force). Then mention the string of equations that would take you to the quantity that would break an egg.

PS. I have been talking about the landing. You didn't mention whether the pillow is on the ground or falling with the egg. If the egg is in the pillow falling, that would also change how it falls and you should discuss that.

PPS. Your questions aren't annoying at all. You may have to wait for answers just because we only check in occasionally -- not because we are annoyed.

Last edited:
lekh2003

1. How does air resistance affect the outcome of an egg-drop project?

Air resistance, also known as drag, plays a significant role in the egg-drop project. As the egg falls, it experiences upward air resistance force, which opposes its weight and slows its descent. This force increases as the speed of the egg increases. To increase the chances of a successful egg-drop, it is important to minimize the surface area of the egg and use materials that can reduce air resistance.

2. What is the ideal height for an egg-drop project?

The ideal height for an egg-drop project depends on various factors such as the materials used, the design of the contraption, and the weight of the egg. Generally, a height of 10-15 feet is recommended as it allows enough time for the egg to reach terminal velocity and also provides a good challenge for the participants.

3. How can the center of mass affect the outcome of an egg-drop project?

The center of mass is the point at which an object's mass is evenly distributed. In an egg-drop project, the center of mass of the contraption and the egg must be aligned to ensure stability during the fall. If the center of mass is not properly balanced, the contraption may spin or flip, resulting in a failed egg-drop.

4. Can the shape of the contraption impact the success of an egg-drop project?

Yes, the shape of the contraption can significantly affect the outcome of an egg-drop project. A streamlined shape can reduce air resistance, while a bulky or irregular shape can increase air resistance, making the egg fall faster. It is important to choose a shape that minimizes air resistance and provides stability during the fall.

5. How does the type of surface affect the impact of an egg in an egg-drop project?

The type of surface can greatly impact the impact of an egg in an egg-drop project. Softer surfaces, such as foam or bubble wrap, can absorb the impact and reduce the force exerted on the egg. Harder surfaces, like concrete, can cause the egg to crack upon impact. It is important to choose a surface that can cushion the egg's impact and protect it from breaking.

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