2004 KMSO Egg Drop Contest

Science Olympiad Group C (Grade 9,10,11), 10:20-11:20am November 20,  Lehman College, Bronx, NY

Rules

In this contest, you will construct a device to hold an egg and drop it from a certain height towards a target on the ground. You donít want the egg to break, but the device should have the least amount of mass and the shortest dimensions, and it should land as close to the target as possible. The dropping point is about 17 feet above the target.  The main emphasis in this year's contest is given to the structural engineering of the device rather than the cushioning of the eggs.  For this reason, mainly wooden chopsticks will be used with no other cushioning materials.
MATERIALS & TOOLS

1 grade-A egg in a vinyl bag, 24 pairs of wooden chopsticks, 5 sheets of paper,  300 cm string, 20 rubber bands, 10 paper clips, 1 roll of scotch tape. 1 pair of scissors, 1 pencil  
RULES: 
Devices may be of any shape.  See, however, our guide for design in the below.

Briefly describe your design concept within 100 words, on the back of this sheet, possibly including your own drawings.

Judges will check the survival of the egg (E=1 if unbroken or E=0 if broken) and measure the length (L), weight (W) of the device, and the distance (D) of the egg to the target. The score will be given according to

                                Score = (100gm/W) * (30cm/L) * (3feet/D) * E

where W excludes the mass of egg and L is the maximum dimension of the device in any direction measured after the drop. D is  measured in reference to the egg. 

PRIZES:
The devices with the top three highest scores will win the 1st -2nd -3rd prizes. Besides, the most innovative device in each grade, as determined by the judges, will win the incentive prize regardless of E.

Design Guide

Contestants can freely choose any style of design. The following types are only for the purpose of guidance.
Type Box Dart Parachute
Sample
Pro
  • Simple to build
  • Light & compact
  • Target pointing
  • The tip absorbs impact of landing
  • Best protection for eggs
  • Light, although not compact
Con
  • Poor egg-protection
  • May bounce away from the target if too compact
  • Can be too lengthy
  • Amount of materials and time
  • Lengthy
  • Poor pointing
  • Possible danger of folding

 

Summary of the Results

  1. Given the chopsticks as main materials for frames, a lot of students tried a pyramid shape or tetrahedron rather than conventional hexahedron. They often added additional triangle in the middle of the tetrahedron to hold the egg there, which spikes out to either prevent roll-over or provide additional shock absorption.
  2. The tetrahedron can be considered as a (modified) box type. Many students attached a parachute to one vertex of the tetrahedron so that it can land safely. While good in safety, this type did not attain the highest score for some reason. Some students attached paper (or mini-parachute) to one side of the tetrahedron. This then works the other way round, namely, it becomes a dart type as it hits the ground by its vertex.
  3. The combination of mini dart and mini parachute types appears to be highly successful in scoring since it can be compact and light and also well guided. This type was an unexpected result and is now our pleasant surprise.
  4. The 9th grade students mostly tried the box type and the parachute type was popular in the 10th grade. The 11th grade students cleverly chose the economic, mini-parachute design. So it is the 9th grade students who brought up a variety of designs, although their eggs were mostly broken.
  5. We were very happy to see several new types in this contest. They include: a sponge box, a spinning parachute, a beautiful two-box combination, and a large dart. They are shown in the below.

Selective Review

1. Clever strategies for scoring
One side of the tetrahedron is covered with a paper so that it can function as a mini-parachute. That way there are lot of savings in the length and weight to score high. Due to the mini parachute on top, the tetrahedron actually becomes a dart that gives a good guiding to the target and the vertex absorbs the impact at minimal cost, and also prevents flip-over. A good strategy for gaining a high score. [Winner of the 1st prize] One of the typical tetrahedron designs that attained the highest score among the same kind. It's a tetrahedron with another triangle in the middle that has a lot of spikes, providing enough safety at little cost. Notice that the base of the tetrahedron is covered with strings which actually functions as a semi-parachute. The air can pass through it, giving better guiding than a full parachute. We're not sure if it was really intended, but it worked. [Winner of the 3rd prize]
2. Great designs
The folded paper is used as sponge for absorbing impact. The builder intended that the egg would bounce on the sponge on impact. In the middle, the egg is held by strings. This design allows the length to be short and the weight low while keeping the egg intact. We love this design not only for its high score, but for the nice design concept. [Winner of the 2nd prize] Another good, strategic design with many thoughts. It is basically a tetrahedron but with sharp spikes in all direction that not only absorb the impact but also prevent rollover of the device. We also noticed that this device was spinning when falling because of the slits on the parachute. That gives additional control of flight. [Winner of the incentive prize in the 10th grade]
3.  Unfortunate cases
The inner and outer boxes are connected via rubber bands and paper clips. They will reduce the impact applied to the outer box  when transferred to the inner box holding the egg.  A beautiful box design, but the egg broke unfortunately. [Winner of the incentive prize in the 9th grade] This reminded us of a NASA science explorer that had successfully landed on the Mars. A flaw in this design is that too much weight lies in the wrapper of the egg, and does not help the nice paper balls to land first, in spite of the interesting star-shaped structure at the bottom.  
 
A nice combination of  the dart and parachute types to give a better landing. It was no surprise that the egg survived, but the parachute was so large that the device flew far away from the target. Finally, a dart type!  It could not score high because of its unavoidable length and weight, but it is always worthwhile to try what others don't. [Winner of the incentive prize in the 11th grade]

 

Full list   

       Click here to see all of the results.


Final Scores

ID No. Type* E D [feet] L [cm] W [gm] Score Remarks
Y09-01
Y09-02
Y09-04
Y09-05
Y09-06
Y09-09
Y09-11
Y09-13
Y09-15
Y09-16
Y09-19
Y09-20
Y09-21
Y09-22
Y09-23
Y09-24
Y09-25
Y09-26
Y09-27
Y09-28
Y09-29
Y10-01
Y10-02
Y10-04
Y10-05
Y10-07
Y10-08
Y10-09
Y10-15
Y10-16
Y10-17
Y10-19
Y10-21
Y10-23
Y10-24
Y10-25
Y10-26
Y10-27
Y10-28
Y10-29
Y10-30
Y10-31
Y11-01
Y11-04
Y11-06
Y11-08
Y11-09
Y11-10
Y11-11
Y11-12
Y11-13
P+B 


B+D 









B+P 
B+wing 

B+P 


B+P 


B+Wing 

B+P 
D+P 

B+Panels
B+P 

B+P 
B+P 
B+P 
B+P 

D+CompactP
B+P 

B+P 
B+P (hole)
B+P 

D+P 
D+B 

B+P 

B+P 
B+P 
B+CompactP

1
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
1
0
1
0
1
0
1
1
0
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
0
0
1
1
0
1
1
0
0
0
1
1
1
0
2.42 



0.92 








2.83 


1.25 




1.33 

0.83 

1.83 

0.67 
2.33 

4.00 
2.75 
1.58 
3.75 
0.83 
1.75 
1.58 


2.25 
4.67 

1.25 
1.50 



3.75 
1.08 
0.75 

19.00 



22.00 








21.00 


21.00 




29.00 

29.00 

51.00 

24.00 
46.00 

38.00 
83.00 
57.00 
41.00 
28.00 
22.00 
48.00 


39.00 
63.00 

45.00 
44.00 



52.00 
37.00 
23.00 

44.50 



94.74 








41.16 


56.15 




33.95 

93.55 

31.69 

47.47 
23.66 

59.10 
53.10 
78.60 
61.51 
80.83 
38.70 
62.97 


32.66 
57.43 

53.36 
78.63 



51.58 
36.36 
42.68 

4.4
0.0
0.0
0.0
4.7
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
3.7
0.0
0.0
6.1
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
6.9
0.0
4.0
0.0
3.0
0.0
11.8
3.5
0.0
1.0
0.7
1.3
1.0
4.8
6.0
1.9
0.0
0.0
3.1
0.5
0.0
3.0
1.7
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.9
6.2
12.2
0.0
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
Incentive P
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
3rd Prize
-
-
-
-
-
2nd Prize
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
Incentive P
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
Incentive P
-
-
-
-
-
1st Prize
-
* Design type: B = Box type, P = Parachute, D = dart type

Last Modified: 22 November 2004              Contact: J. Lee