Egg-drop projects are used as a creative teaching tool for classes ranging from elementary school students learning the basics of science and physics, to advanced high school and college classes that can take the principles they have learnt to build advanced egg protectors. The project typically involves building a contraption that will protect an egg from breaking after it has been dropped from a tall height.
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Bicycle Helmet Foam
The foam from old bicycle helmets is one option for protecting your egg during a drop test. Bicycle helmet foam is specifically designed to protect your brain by absorbing the shock that occurs when your head hits the ground in a bike accident. Cut the foam away from the helmet and shave the foam to fit snugly to the egg while it's in its box. Be sure there is as little open space as possible between the egg and the foam to ensure protection on impact.
A common disadvantage of foam is that it can be difficult to get the pieces of foam in place and snug up against the egg. Safe, sprayable foam insulation, such as the environmentally "green" varieties made from polyurethane, allows you to direct the foam into your egg container. As it expands, the foam will both keep the egg in place within the box as well as provide a layer of shock absorption as the egg hits the ground. Read the directions of your egg-drop contest carefully, as some competitions ban spray foam from being used.
Pantyhose can be used to hold the egg in place within your contraption, as well as prevent the egg from hitting a hard surface that could crack it. To do this, place the egg in the centre of a pair of pantyhose. Wrap the egg in rubber bands so that it's secured and cannot move around inside the pantyhose. Stretch the pantyhose across the box or egg container to the point where it is tight enough that there is little stretch left. Staple the pantyhose ends to keep it taut. As the box falls, the pantyhose will hold the egg in place. As the box hits, the pantyhose will keep the egg suspended and prevent it from breaking, if done correctly.
While the majority of egg-drop competitions forbid using a parachute on your device, some still allow you to create wings. Wings extending from the side of your egg-drop device slow down the rate at which it drops, lessening the impact of the device once it hits the ground. Read your rules carefully, as they may limit the overall size of your device, which impacts the size of the wings you can create. Also keep in mind that if there is an award for speed, you will probably not win it.
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