# UBC Physics Olympics: The Descrambler Event

• guerrilla7
In summary, the conversation discusses a project for the 26th UBC Physics Olympics where participants must design and build a structure to protect an egg from breaking when a mass is repeatedly dropped on it. The guidelines include specifications for the guide, scrambler, and egg protecting structure, as well as rules for the trials. The conversation also includes ideas for the project, such as using different materials and experimenting with the shape of the egg protecting structure.
guerrilla7
Hi,
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.

Guide:
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.

Scrambler:
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.

Rules:
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.

Hello! It sounds like you have a really interesting project ahead of you. Here are a few ideas that might help you with the design and build of your egg protecting structure:

1. Consider using different materials for your egg protecting structure. While the guidelines specify paper, toothpicks, and string, you could also experiment with other materials like foam, bubble wrap, or even feathers. These materials could potentially provide better cushioning and shock absorption for the egg.

2. Think about the shape of your egg protecting structure. Instead of a flat structure, you could try creating a dome or cone shape that would distribute the force of the falling mass more evenly.

3. Don't forget about the base of your egg protecting structure. While the structure itself may be designed to protect the egg, the base also plays a crucial role in absorbing impact. Consider adding extra layers or reinforcement to the base to help distribute the force.

4. Try adding a shock absorber to your egg protecting structure. This could be a small cushion or foam pad placed underneath the egg to help absorb the impact of the falling mass.

5. Test different heights for the drop. While the guidelines specify a minimum height of 1 meter, you could also try dropping the mass from higher heights to see how your structure holds up.

Overall, I would recommend experimenting with different materials, shapes, and designs to find the most effective egg protecting structure. Good luck with your project!

Wow, this sounds like a really challenging and exciting event! I'm sure you and your team will have a lot of fun designing and building your apparatus for The Descrambler.

One idea for maximizing your score could be to focus on the mass of the scrambler. As mentioned in the rules, the larger the mass of the scrambler, the higher the score. Therefore, you may want to consider using heavier materials for your scrambler, such as lead or iron, to increase its mass and potentially boost your score.

Another idea could be to carefully design your egg protecting structure to minimize its mass. As the formula for the score includes the mass of the egg protecting structure in the denominator, a lighter structure could also contribute to a higher score. Perhaps you could experiment with different materials and designs to find the most efficient and lightweight structure.

Additionally, you may want to consider the height of your egg protecting structure. As the formula includes the maximum height of the structure, a lower height could potentially increase your score. However, you also want to make sure that your structure is still effective in protecting the egg from the mass being dropped on it. Finding the balance between height and effectiveness could be a key factor in your success.

Overall, my suggestion would be to carefully consider the ratio between the mass of the scrambler, the mass of the egg protecting structure, and the maximum height of the structure. Experimenting with different combinations and finding the optimal ratio for your specific apparatus could give you an edge in the competition. Good luck!

## 1. What is the "UBC Physics Olympics"?

The UBC Physics Olympics is an annual event organized by the University of British Columbia's Department of Physics and Astronomy. It aims to promote interest and enthusiasm in physics among high school students through a series of fun and challenging physics-based events.

## 2. What is the "Descrambler Event" in the UBC Physics Olympics?

The Descrambler Event is one of the many events that make up the UBC Physics Olympics. It involves teams of students using their knowledge of physics principles to solve a series of puzzles and challenges related to magnetism, electricity, and optics.

## 3. Who can participate in the UBC Physics Olympics?

The UBC Physics Olympics is open to high school students in grades 9-12. Each school can send a maximum of two teams of four students to compete in the event. Students do not need to have prior knowledge of physics, but an interest in the subject is encouraged.

## 4. How are the winners determined in the Descrambler Event?

The winners of the Descrambler Event are determined based on the number of points earned by each team. Points are awarded for successfully completing challenges and solving puzzles, with higher points given for more difficult tasks. The team with the most points at the end of the event is declared the winner.

## 5. How can my school participate in the UBC Physics Olympics?

To participate in the UBC Physics Olympics, schools must register online on the official website. Registrations typically open in January, and schools are encouraged to register early as spots are limited. There is a small registration fee per team, and all necessary information and materials will be provided to participating schools.

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