General Question

warpling's avatar

Could you get an egg drop with these qualifications to work?

Asked by warpling (841 points ) April 11th, 2009

Ok, so this year I am in AP Physics and we’ve been given an egg-drop assignment, although its not the typical egg-drop…

First off, the bare minimum possible to get a 60% (or a D) is as follows
15cm x 15cm x 15cm (chute open included)
< 50 grams
biodegradable materials
1 egg

An A+
15cm x 15cm x 15cm (chute open included)
< 10 grams
biodegradable materials
2 eggs

An A++
15cm x 15cm x 15cm (chute open included)
< 10 grams
biodegradable materials
3 eggs

If the egg doesn’t survive the highest grade that can be attained is a 50%. If the student wishes to retest the egg it must be done with in an hour with a new rebuilt egg-ship.

It sounds easy until one discovers how light 10 grams really is, keeps the biodegradable constraint in mind, and remembers the parachute must remain in the volume constraints even when open.

What would be your solution? All of mine are too heavy so far to get a decent grade…

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27 Answers

asmonet's avatar

Keep working on your homework, kid.

Jayne's avatar

I won’t tell you how, but keep in mind that f=ma, and d=.5at^2-vt ;)

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Can’t we just cook the eggs and eat them?

Jayne's avatar

You know you like it.

asmonet's avatar

I totally do. :)

chyna's avatar

Can’t we just hide them and then find them?

elijah's avatar

Mmmmmm, eggs.

FGS's avatar

Have you considered helium filled tissue paper landing bags, similar to what was used to land the Spirit and Opportunity robots on Mars?

Jayne's avatar

Not really a drop, is it, then? Ha! What a silly idea!
<——- jealous

crisw's avatar

What’s the drop height?

Are there any exact qualifications for “biodegradable”?

YARNLADY's avatar

I would coat the egg in some kind of solution so it couldn’t break even if it wanted to.

Zen's avatar

Geek, leave us alone and come back when you have your homework done and just want to chat.

Just kiddin, chill. Nerd.

warpling's avatar

Lol, thanks guys.
A tried and true design is with a paper cone stuffed with cotton. It has to have 3 landing spikes also made out of smaller cones so It won’t tip and break the egg. The killer is the biodegradable part and the weight, go weigh and envelope and you’ll be surprised how heavy it is grams-wise.

I am baking a meringue right now for testing purposes…

fireside's avatar

I agree, biodegradable materials makes this much tougher. Otherwise rubber bands and straws would have been a good lightweight option.

crisw's avatar

@warpling
“The killer is the biodegradable part”
See, that’s why I was asking for specifics on that. Both cotton and paper are biodegradable, so what is the problem there?

Jayne's avatar

How big is the chute, out of curiosity? Assuming negligible air resistance on the carrier itself, what is the terminal velocity of a 10 g assemblage? Is it allowed to reach terminal velocity.

warpling's avatar

@crisw Paper is fine, cotton is fine, baked goods are fine, a dead fish is fine, starch based packaging peanuts are fine, it’s not a problem it just makes things tougher (ie. no plastic bag chute).
@Jayne The parachute has to remain in the 15×15x15 dimensions when opened. It will not reach terminal velocity and I do not have the exact height, it’s probably around 30ft though meaning it’s maximum velocity without air resistance is about 9 m/s?

FGS's avatar

@warpling Try making your chute out of craft style tissue paper, its biodegradable, fairly tough and light weight.

Jayne's avatar

Let’s see…my point with the equations above is that you need the deceleration to take place over as great a distance as possible, so perhaps you could make a tube out of a sheet of fairly stiff paper, so that the egg sits snugly at the top but can be forced downwards with effort, then use straw (as in hay) or a cone made of another sheet to form a rough support to keep the tube vertical on impact (the chute would do that in the air), and fill the tube with loosely-packed tissue paper to help cushion the egg and support the tube. Hopefully, the egg would be forced down the tube, so that it is slowed gradually. If the tube was crushed instead, it might still cushion the landing.

Or, make some kind of tall straw framework that would collapse on impact, slowing the egg down and, if you’re really good, folding into a cushion below it.

Anyway, I have no idea if these would work, but try them anyways, because I’m curious.

crisw's avatar

@warpling
The helium balloon idea was an interesting one.You can actually buy biodegrabable balloons and you can fill them with air, not helium. Should be quite light- now you just have to affix them to the egg :>)

YARNLADY's avatar

Real parachutes are made out of silk. That might be best for you.

warpling's avatar

@Jayne That’s a great idea, and works in theory, but not in real life because the center of gravity is offset and so the craft will flip and the egg will hit first.
@crisw It’s great to hear that there are biodegradable balloons, but I probably do not have time to order them. A great idea none the less!

Jayne's avatar

That’s what the straw or paper supports, complemented by the parachute, is for; I have no idea if you could make it sturdy enough without overreaching the weight limit. You know, something like this:
. I I
./I I\
/ I I \

Jayne's avatar

I should have added that the parachute would have to be attached some distance above the egg, to prevent the mid-air torquing you implied. However, I also realized that I have been totally neglecting the requirement that it be shorter than 15 cm tall. Now, I may be underestimating the strength of an egg, but this seems bloody impossible. I would suggest in this case that you make a plaster cast of the egg and pray your teacher doesn’t notice ;)

warpling's avatar

hahaha, now you know how I feel. I’ve made several radically different attempts and something always kills it whether it be the weight, dimensions, or removability of the egg. We’ll see how it goes with what I’ve got I guess! Thanks again for the help and discussion…

Jayne's avatar

So, how did it go?

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