n Journal of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering = Joernaal van die Suid-Afrikaanse Instituut van Siviele Ingenieurswese - Developing understanding of structural implications of dynamic loading in engineering students through the egg drop contest - theory and measurements : technical paper

Volume 48, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1021-2019



An egg drop contest recently held at the University of Witwatersrand served to test engineering students' ability to solve non-standard problems. In this contest, students designed and built structures to protect their cargo - a raw egg. The structures were dropped 15 m onto a hard surface. The goal was to prevent damage to the egg upon impact. This paper explores some of the experimental and theoretical techniques that could be used to analyse and design a suitable impact resistant structure. The accelerations of the egg during free-fall and impact were measured by a miniature custom built accelerometer sensor and recorded by a data acquisition system. Measurements show that an egg housed in a test structure and dropped from only 3 m can produce accelerations greater than 70 g. The results from a theoretical model of impact presented in this paper closely matches the measured accelerations. The model predicts that if the test structure investigated would be dropped from 15 m, the egg would be subject to accelerations of approximately 100 g.

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