Eggcellent Experiments – Friday Fun with Frederick and Fleming

Normally one thinks of eggs as being very fragile objects. But eggs can also be very strong as well.

Items Needed:

  • Carton of eggs

Instructions:

  1. Find an egg without any cracks in it.
  2. Place that egg in the palm of your hand. (Make sure that hand doesn’t have any rings on it.)
  3. Wrap your fingers over the egg and squeeze. Be sure to do this outside because if the egg has a small crack in it, it may break.
  4. Place two cartons of eggs on the ground. Make sure you do this outside or some place where if an egg breaks it won’t be a problem.
  5. With your feet being kept flat, step up onto the one carton and then place the other foot on the other carton.  If done carefully, the eggs won’t break. You can even do a light jump on them, but be sure your feet are kept flat.

Science:

The shape of an egg is actually a very strong structure, even though the shell itself is very fragile.  When pressure is applied equally across the shell, the curvature allows that pressure to be applied equally across the entire shell.  That is how a bird can sit on an egg without damaging it.  BUT, the egg is still fragile enough at a single point that a chick that is hatching can peck through the shell.  The arch way in many structures is not only done for an aesthetic purpose but to help hold the building up. An arch has the same strength and therefore is often used in buildings.

Squeezing an egg in your hand shouldn’t be able to be broken. Be sure though that you check to make sure there are no cracks in the egg or that you use a hand with a ring on it.  The ring will apply pressure in a single point along the side and cause the egg to break.

When walking on the eggs, you have two things at work. First, is the same concept above that the shell is pressing against itself and therefore holding up. Second is the distribution of weight across all the different eggs.  BUT if you aren’t totally flat footed, you apply pressure against the side of the eggs and they will break.

NOTE: Raw eggs can be hazardous to your health. After handling the eggs, please be sure to wash your hands thoroughly.

Challenge:

Soak an egg in white vinegar overnight. This will dissolve the shell, leaving a very interesting egg behind.

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