Physics and Astronomy

It's No Yolk
Objective To construct a support platform using a piece of plywood held off a flat surface with eggs, and to test its load bearing capacity.
Participants Teams of up to six.
Materials 4 eggs (no replacements); one piece of plywood (30 cm square); one plastic garbage bag; one paperboard box; one allotment of modelling clay; and a supply of bricks.

1. The plastic garbage bag must be placed on the floor, on top of which all construction will take place. When the project is finished, the construction site must be left in its original condition.
2. Any number of eggs up to 4 may be used as the foundation for the plywood deck. Eggs will not be replaced. Modelling clay may be used only as a means of supporting the egg.
3. The paperboard box must be placed on the plywood deck All material must be thereafter placed in this box.
4. The load will consist of bricks which must be placed within the box resting upon the plywood deck.
5. Place the bricks in the support box, in any arrangement.
6. The completed structure will consist of unbroken eggs supporting the plywood and the box in which bricks are stacked. An egg with a visible crack will be deemed unacceptable.
7. A time limit of 20 minutes will be imposed. You must indicate to the judge present that you have completed as the time will be recorded.


1. Points will be allocated based on the number of bricks supported by the egg foundation. Judges will record the completion time. Completion time will be defined as the moment a team member indicates to the judge that the team has completed the structure.
2. In the event of a tie based on weight, the construction crew with the shortest completion time will receive a higher score.
3. Structures that fail will receive zero points, but will be ranked on the basis of the load held at failure less one brick.

Background The hen's egg is a marvel of engineering design which makes use of the principle of the dome to provide a durable container for the edible contents. The main structural component is calcium carbonate as crystalline calcite with small amounts of magnesium and phosphate. A little-known fact is that the average egg is perforated with about 6,000 pores to allow for gaseous diffusion in fertile eggs which are used for hatching. With the trend toward lower per capita consumption of shell eggs which has dropped by 50 eggs over the past two decades to an average of 205 eggs per year in Canada, there is some interest in using surplus eggs for alternative markets. In this challenge, you will explore the potential to use eggs as a foundation material in a building structure.
Source Technical University of Nova Scotia.

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