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Theory on Stacking Boxes

  1. Oct 12, 2006 #1
    Hi there all. I'm new to this forum. I thank much for having such a forum about physics. I never knew there was such a forum until i typed in "physics forums" lolz.... ahahha funnie eh......anyway, i really don't know where to put this topic im about to post. Admin/MODs, if you should find a place for this, please do so.

    Anyway, a little about me first of all before i start to elaborate about my "theories" about the things i talk about.

    I'm big into "theories" and way of life and what not the philsophies of it. I'm most interested in the Yin Yang philosophy and Taoism.

    Anyway, as of right now, i work at a Warehouse stacking up boxes. It's weird how everytime work at a new job and learn a new skill, i somehow can apply to our daily lives.

    Anyway, the main objective of this to get an answer to a "Foundation" or a basis of building things and how it affects what is built upon it.

    I learned at this job that when stacking up Boxes, you must have a strong foundation when stacking them up high. Now this is a WareHouse so and when stacking up boxes, we stack them up what they call a "Pallet" that looks like this
    http://www.cordiners.com/pal1.jpg [Broken]

    Get the picture?

    Anyway, continuing.........As we stack them up, i realize that you must have a strong foudation in order to stack them up as high as 6 to 7 feet tall, if not they will tip and fall. Anything without a strong foundation will tip and fall easily.

    If the boxes are the same size, then its easy to stack them up without a problem. I've been stacking them with ease with boxes being the same size. But sometimes they are not always the same size. So I stack them with the bigger boxes on the bottom as they are usually heavier and can cover more grounds than the smaller boxes. And usually, most of the time, i usually stack them up by having the bigger boxes with the most quantity of the items. This worked for awhile until tonight, i ran into a problem with it. I realize that sometimes the BIGGER boxes aren't always that heavy. They maybe bigger but not heavy at all. I found out that sometimes the SMALLER boxes are heavier than the bigger boxes.

    So now, lets say that the SMALLER boxes are much more in quantity than the BIGGER boxes which are about the same aobut in quantity.

    So knowing that most of the time the bigger boxes will always be on the bottom is now the lighter one and the smaller boxes which is the heavier one. Which would be a better way of stacking the boxes so that it wont tip over so easily? We all know that if something is heavy on top, it will easily tip over.

    Any thoughts/coments about this would be great.......

    thanks for reading....

    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 12, 2006 #2
    Put the heavy boxes on the bottom.....this is common sense, not physics.
  4. Oct 12, 2006 #3


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    Unfortunately, common sense isn't all that common :cry:

    In physics this problem is all about center of gravity.
  5. Oct 12, 2006 #4


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    There is also the issue of how the weight is distributed within the boxes. Something relatively light and solidly packed in a small box should (I think) support more than something very heavy in a box that's way too big for it. If, for instance, I had a bunch of 1kg bricks packed in brick-size boxes, I'd put them on the bottom if the rest of the load consisted of 20kg anvils in 10 cubic metre boxes. The structural integrity of the boxes comes into play as well.
    If the boxes are all the same, and rectangular rather than square in horizontal dimensions, I would stagger them rather than piling one directly on top of another.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2006
  6. Oct 13, 2006 #5


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    Hi Truth_Yaj. Good questions! Height and displacement of the center of gravity versus the base will tell you, as NoTime says. I recommend you read "Structures, or Why Things Don't Fall Down". He discusses the related problem that medieval architects had to solve to build big cathedrals by stacking up stones. It's a fun book.

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2017
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