Drop an Egg Without It Breaking
The egg drop is a classic science experiment, but it can still be pretty intimidating if you've never successfully completed it. To drop an egg without breaking it, you need to find a way to minimize the force of the impact and its effects on the delicate eggshell. The best ways to do this are to cushion the egg while also changing the way it drops and the way it lands. You can also soak the egg in vinegar to soften the shell so that it can absorb more of an impact. You can also put 36 cm of toilet paper.--126.96.36.199 00:20, 6 March 2017 (GMT)
Cushion and Protect the Egg
- Use cereal. Surrounding the egg with cereal can be a surprisingly effective way of distributing the force of the impact. For best results, choose a "puff" type cereal over something with flakes. These puffs contain a decent amount of air and make better cushions.
- Wrap the egg around with wet paper towels.
- Place the egg in one plastic bag and surround it with a puffed rice cereal.
- Fill four other small bags with the same cereal but do not put any eggs inside.
- Place all the bags inside of a larger resealable bag. Make sure that the bag with the egg in it is in the middle and all the other bags are packed around it from all sides.
- Wrap the egg in packing material. Packing material is designed for the specific purpose of protecting fragile items from bumps and blows. If you have enough of it, this material can also protect a raw egg from breaking after a nasty tumble.
- The simplest way to approach this is to get heavy-duty bubble wrap. Carefully wind the bubble wrap around the egg anywhere from two to five times, creating a thick cushion. Tie the ends of the bubble wrap with rubber bands to prevent the egg from slipping out through the top or bottom.
- If you do not have bubble wrap but do have other packing materials, like packing peanuts, inflated plastic packing packets, packing paper, cotton balls, or crumpled newspaper, you can use these materials to cushion the egg, as well. Spread a thick layer of your chosen packing material inside a box that is at least four to eight times larger than the egg. You should use enough material to fill the box halfway. Place the egg in the center of this cushion, then gently cover it with enough packing material to fill the rest of the box. Close the box and seal it with tape before the drop.
- Try marshmallows or popcorn. These airy, soft foods can be used like cereal or packing materials. The basic idea is to surround the egg with enough of a cushion using these foods to reduce the force of the impact the egg faces once it lands.
- The exact container you use does not necessarily make a difference, but there are a few things you should keep in mind. Make sure that the container is large enough so that you can cushion the egg around all sides, just in case the egg lands on its side instead of on the top or bottom of the container. You also need to make sure that you have enough marshmallows, popcorn, or similar soft food to fill the container completely. If not, the egg might move around inside.
- Marshmallows and popcorn both work so well because they contain so much air. You could try other types of food, as well, but the food you choose should either be very soft or very airy.
- Fill the container halfway with marshmallows. Place the egg in the center of your marshmallow nest, then carefully fill the rest of the container with marshmallows, as well. Make sure that the entire container is filled but do not press down on the egg as you pack the container.
- Let the egg float. If you can keep the egg floating in water during the drop and upon impact, the force of the impact should distribute itself evenly throughout the water and have very little effect on the egg itself.
- Place the egg inside of a tin can, plastic box, or other durable container. This container should be about five times as large as the egg.
- Fill the rest of the container with water and add a handful of salt. The egg will float better in salt water than in normal water. Make sure that the entire container is filled with water and that it is well sealed before you drop it.
Change the Way the Egg Drops
- Create a cradle. Suspend the egg in the center of a box or similar container using a pair of nylon stockings or panty hose. Stockings are very elastic and soft. As the container holding the egg strikes to ground, the stockings should give slightly, allowing the egg to come to a stop without that stop being quite so sudden. As a result, the force on the shell is lessened, making it less likely to crack.
- Cut off one leg of the stockings. Place the egg inside this leg at the center of stocking. Tie the egg in place using rubber bands.
- Tightly pull the stocking leg diagonally through a box, extending it from one upper corner to one bottom corner. The egg should be positioned in the center of the box. Staple or otherwise hold the stocking in place.
- Note that your box can be made of nearly any material. It could be a cardboard or plastic box, or you could even construct a box frame out of metal clothes hangers.
- Weigh down the bottom of your container. You can place the egg at the top of a cushioned container instead of placing it in the center as long as you have a heavy enough weight to control the direction the container falls in. The easiest way to do this is to use a stone and styrofoam cups.
- Place one heavy rock in the bottom of one styrofoam cup. The rock must be heavier than egg.
- Place six more styrofoam cups inside the bottom cup, on top of the rock.
- Place the egg inside the top cup.
- Fit one more cup gently on top of the egg to secure the egg's position.
- Tape the cups together along the sides so that the container will not fall apart during the fall.
- If the rock is heavy enough, the container should fall rock-side down and egg-side up. The styrofoam cups should also help cushion the blow.
- Make a parachute. If you can design a parachute for the container holding your egg, you can reduce the velocity at which the egg drops. Since the egg is falling at a slower speed, the force of the impact will be much less once it hits the ground. Less force means that your egg might have a chance at survival.
- There are a few different parachutes you can try, but one of the easiest materials to use is a plastic shopping bag. Place the egg in a box, along with any cushioning you may choose to use. Attach a large plastic grocery bag to the top of the box using tape or a stapler. Make sure that the handles are near the sides of the box so that enough air can get inside the bag as the box drops.
- When you drop the box, make sure that the side you attach the parachute to is at the top. This will allow air to fill the bag and cause it to open up, reducing the speed of the descent as a result.
Change the Landing Site
- Catch the egg in a net. An egg shatters when dropped on the ground because massive deceleration within a small distance creates a significant amount of force. Catching the egg in a net of sorts can increase the deceleration time and reduce the overall force.
- If you cannot use an actual safety net, a simple alternative is to use a linen sheet. Stake the sheet at least 1 foot (30.5 cm) above the ground. When you drop the egg, make sure that it lands as close to the center of the sheet as possible.
- Similarly, you could also give the egg a cushion to fall into instead of a net. The principle at work here is the same. Fill a large, wide box with a thick layer of heavy-duty bubble wrap or similar packing materials. When you drop the egg, make sure that it lands on the cushion.
- Choose a grassy location. If you can choose the landing site, opt for a grassy location instead of a concrete sidewalk or parking lot. Grass and soil are naturally softer than concrete or stone, so the force of the impact will automatically be much smaller.
- For even better results, drop the egg after a good rainstorm so that the ground is very soft. Try to avoid dropping the egg during a drought, since soil tends to be much harder and more firmly packed in these conditions.
- Mix as many of these elements together as possible for the egg drop. Slowing down egg down as it descends while distributing the force through cushioning can protect the fragile shell more effectively than either method can on its own. If you can change the surface the egg is dropped onto as well, the egg will be even safer.
- If you are taking part in a class project or formal egg drop contest, review the rules thoroughly and follow them when designing your technique.
- Drop the egg lightly. When dropping the egg, hold it out over the surface and simply let go. Do not toss it downward as you drop it since this will add more force and speed to the egg's descent, making it more likely to crack upon impact. The height will increase the impact if the egg drop if it doesn't have a cushion inside.
Things You'll Need
- 1 raw egg
- Small resealable plastic bags
- Large resealable plastic bags
- Puffed rice cereal
- Nylon stockings
- Rubber bands
- Clothing hangers
- Styrofoam cups
- Heavy-duty bubble wrap
- Packing peanuts
- Inflated plastic packing packets
- Cotton balls
- Packing paper
- Plastic shopping bag or similar parachute
- Linen sheet
- How to Place an Egg in a Beer Bottle
- How to Squeeze an Egg Without Breaking It
- Catch a Raw Egg
- How to Blow Out Eggs