Straw Egg Drop

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Halfway Point pasquinit pasquinit 0 36 Nov 29, 2009 by pasquinit pasquinit

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Edward, the Egg
Our Designs:
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From left to right: suspension, parachute, house.


Abstract:

We are going to drop eggs that are held in vessels/containers from four varying heights in order to test the containers ability to protect the egg. This relates to packaging in real life situations such as shipping companies.

Schedule

November 13th: Develop a question, begin to design the containers.
November 20th: Build the containers.
November 23rd: Develop a hypothesis about the outcome of the drop.
November 24th: Experiment/test the containers by dropping the eggs/collect data.
Weekend of December 11th: Complete experiments/tests.
Week of December 14th: Compare data and analyze results in comparison to "State of the Art." Conclude.

Problem or Need Statement

Can a container/vessel, built from straws, string, glue, and newspaper, protect an egg dropped from four varying heights?

State of the Art

There are no definite solutions to this problem. They all have deficiencies; some are better than others and the results are hit or miss. Some examples of different solutions are found on this webpage: http://niemworks.com/else/eggdrop.html. This shows that parachutes and wing designs appear to have a higher success rate.

Specifications and Metrics for the Solution

We plan to make four or five different designs and test them all from the same heights. They will have some of the same control variables so that we can compare the designs to determine which one works best. Essentially, we want to continue increasing the height until we have narrowed down the designs to find the best one. All of our designs are containers varying in suspension or enclosure.
Procedure:
1. Determine the starting height and the general target area where we want to aim toward.
2. Drop the egg in each design from the same starting height toward the same target area.
3. Document results: if any eggs break or crack.
4. Repeat for different heights.

Brainstorm Alternative Solutions

The possible approaches that might provide a solution to our problem are held within different ideas for containers (haha, no pun intended). Design ideas include: suspension, containers, teepees, parachute, wings, randomly strewn straws, etc. One of these designs will hopefully be a solution to our problem of dropping an egg and keeping it intact.

Identify Priority Alternatives/Implementations

We believe that suspension, parachutes/wings, and randomly strewn straws will work the best because they will most successfully absorb the shock of landing. Containers are also a possible successful solution depending on the amount of cushioning. The teepee design is our weakest design because if the egg tips, there isn't protection on all sides. All of these have room for error; cons could be the landing, cushioning, aerodynamics, and specifically for the parachute/wings design, the time allotted to fall. However, all of our designs have the potential to prove successful depending on different variables.

Implement Solution and Test

Thanksgiving Break (Nov 24th-Nov 29th):
We completed our designs and conducted the experiments. We made four designs: a house-like container with newspaper, a suspension container, a raft-like structure attached to a newspaper parachute, and a "chaos" design which had straws glued all around the egg at different angles. We dropped the eggs in their vessels from three different heights: 6ft, 8ft, and 10ft. By conducting the experiment we discovered that the house-like container was most successful and protected the egg from all three heights. Next was the parachute design which also protected the egg. To improve on this design in particular, we decided that we should have made the vessel that the egg sat in bigger and more supportive because on some trials, the egg actually fell out of the container when it made contact with the ground. The suspension design did not work because our design wasn't well thought-out. The egg sat on top of the suspension design but was not protected on the top because we expected it to fall straight down. Instead, since the design was top-heavy (due to the egg) it completely flipped over and landed egg side down. Needless to say, the egg cracked. Our fourth design, the "chaos" design was not successful either, but we determined that if we had done a better job completing the actual design it would have been better. All of the straws need to be glued along the egg because if the the end of the straw is in contact with the egg shell and drops on it, it will pierce the shell, causing it to break. There is definitely room for us to improve our designs. We intend to continue our experiment, increasing the height that the eggs are dropped from. In addition, we plan to re-test our designs with the needed alterations.
December 16th:
We completed all of our testing and experimentations a.k.a. the actual egg drop. We tested the previously successful designs from a higher height (13ft). To improve our designs, we altered the straw placement. For the parachute we glued straws around the egg more closely so that it could not fall out when landing, and for the chaos design we did not glue the ends of the straws directly to the egg. The house design did not need altering so was left alone. The two that were successful from the thirteen foot drop were the house and parachute designs. We conducted two drops; for the parachute both were successful, but for the house only one was. This holds true to what we found previously, that parachute designs typically worked best (see State of the Art section).

Data/Analysis

As found in the State of the Art section, parachutes were the most successful design. We followed all of our specifications determined and the result proved our parachute design the most effective. The parachute was dropped from varying heights, using only the materials specified, and was able to keep the egg from cracking on multiple tests. While in the State of the Art section, we provided examples of parachutes that did not use the same materials as ours, ours used less sustainable objects to protect the egg. In the same light, our parachute was inferior to the ones found in the State of the Art section in that it was not using the best materials possible to protect the egg. Even without the best materials however, the parachute proved successful.




Conclusion

Our original problem was to build a container/vessel out of straws, string, glue, and newspaper in order to protect an egg being dropped from four varying heights. Our current solution of using a suspension/parachute design does exactly this. It is constructed from an assortment of straws, string, glue, and newspaper and protects the egg while dropped from a maximum of thirteen feet. To improve upon this solution, we might construct our parachute out of more sturdy and sustainable materials and test it from additional heights in order to verify its solidity and effectivness. New questions we developed during our investigation were if we could better prepare our other designs and improve upon them so that they would be more effective; the house could have had more shock absorbing padding, the chaos could have had more straw protection, and the suspension could have been more balanced.

Sources

Niemworks Egg Drop
Egg Drop Cartoon
Egg Drop Cartoon 2
Egg Drop Cartoon 3
Zoom Egg Drop

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank our parents for letting us use their eggs and on occasion splatter eggs on their property.
We would also like to thank Dr. Pasquini for his guidance and support.

Additional information on these sections can be found on the inquiry model page.