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Homework Help: Physics Olympics

  1. Feb 10, 2004 #1
    I am a grade 12 student attending the 26th UBC Physics Olympics and I was wondering if anybody had any ideas for the project I have to do.
    Please take the time to read it as it is very interesting!

    The Descrambler

    This is a prebuilt event in which participants must design and build a structure to protect an egg from breaking when a mass is repeatedly dropped on it from a height of one meter.
    Teams will bring an apparatus consisting of three parts: a guide, a scrambler and an egg protecting structure.

    1. The guide will consist of a wood base and, if desired, a maximum of 4 thin wodden poles. The wood base must be 1 inch thick. It can be no smaller than 30 cm by 30 cm and no bigger than 50 cm by 50 cm.
    2. The wooden poles are to be less than 3/4 inch in diameter. They are to be placed around the edges of the base. The wooden poles must extend up from the base a distance no less than 1.1 m or more than 1.4 m. They may be secured to the base by glue, nails and/or screws.

    3. The scrambler must consist of a single rigid object composed of solid, completely rigid materials such as iron, lead, other metals, brick or hardened concrete.
    4. The scrambler must be designed to fall freely with an acceleration approximately equal to g when dropped. It must have a flat bottom surface that must be downward during at all times when dropped. The maximum diameter of this bottom surface must be no more than 20 cm.
    5. The scrambler must be designed to first impact the egg protecting structure without ever touching any part of the guide and must not use the guide poles (if used) to slow its fall in any way.

    Egg Protecting Structure:
    6. The only materials that may be used in construction of the egg protecting structure are:
    - Paper
    - flat wooden toothpicks
    - Natural fiber string of less than 1 mm diameter. The string must not have any metal component in it, and must be non-mono-filament- i.e. no fishing line or mono-filament dental floss
    - Small quantities of white glue to secure components together
    7. The egg protecting structure must be designed so that it does not fully encase or otherwise attach to the egg. Specifically it sits freely over the egg and can be freely lifted up both before and after a trial for examination of the egg.
    8. The egg protecting structure must fit in a 20 cm by 20 cm by 20 cm box.
    9. The egg protecting structure must not touch the poles of the guide at any time during a trial. In particular, the guide poles cannot act to support the egg protecting structure at any time.

    10. Each team will be allowed up to 5 trials. Teams will be given a total time of 10 minutes to set up and run the trials.
    11. Teams will be given a single extra large grade A egg. The egg is to be placed directly on the wood base of the guide. The egg protecting structure is then placed over the egg.
    12. The team's guide will be set on a piece of flat cardboard on top of the floor to protect the flooring.
    13. Each trial begins when the judges indicate that they are ready. A team member will then drop the scrambler from a minimum height of 1 meter above the wood base of the guide onto the egg protecting structure. This team member will be required to do so from a sitting or kneeling position on a table positioned next to the guide. The tabletop has dimensions of 60 cm by 75 cm and is 77 cm from the floor.
    14. The scrambler must freely fall with the flat bottom surface downward, approximately parallel to the wood base. The scrambler must hit the egg protecting structure first before touching any part of the guide. The scrambler's center of mass must approximately hit the center of the egg protecting structure.
    15. After the scrambler has come to rest, a team member will remove it, another team member will lift the egg protecting structure and show the judge the condition of the egg. The judge will evaluate the condition of the egg and place it in one of two categories - intact or broken.
    16. The trial will be successful if the egg is intact and the fall of the scrambler satisfied rule 14 during the trial.
    17. After each trial has ended, the team can choose to run another trial and if it does so, must quickly prepare for the subsequent trial by replacing the egg protecting structure over the same egg.
    18. The score will be given by the following formula:
    score = i * Mscrambler / (H * Mstructure)
    Where i is the number of successful trials, Mscrambler is the mass of the scrambler, Mstructure is the mass of the egg protecting structure and H is the maximum height of the egg protecting structure, all as measured upon check-in to the event. The largest score wins. Ties will be broken by the mass of the egg protecting structure with the least massive structure winning.

    This means that the larger Mscrambler is, the higher the score and the smaller H and Mstructure is, the higher the score also. I am thinking an appropiate ratio is needed here.
    Any ideas will be much appreciated.
  2. jcsd
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