This class is no yoke

HCC engineering students drop egg device from 12 feet up to see if egg will crack

HCC engineering students drop egg device from 12 feet up to see if egg will crack

September 24, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

A four-student team that goes by Einstein's Heroes might have made Albert Einstein proud Thursday as its members put their knowledge of science, engineering and sponges to use in an experiment involving eggs.

As part of an introduction to engineering class at Hagerstown Community College, three teams of four students were assigned to create a device that would protect an egg from breaking when dropped 12 feet from a second-story window.

The eggs were dropped from an entrance building at the college amphitheater, with each team getting just one drop.

Instructor Tanya Mayer said the teams were evaluated in four areas: How long it took the egg to fall to the ground, how close the egg came to a target area on the ground, the device's mass and the "egg integrity factor," i.e. whether the egg cracked.


Members of the first team, V Unit Industries (with "V" standing for velocity), packed their egg in bubble wrap in a hamster ball, minus the hamster.

The device was dropped and the egg cracked.

Team member Chris Dobrzanski, 21, of Hancock, said he was not so much disappointed as surprised that the device did not work.

Another team, The Newtons, used a nylon stocking stretched across the length of a box with the egg, in the middle, covered with a plastic bag.

Before the drop, Al Cool, 57, of Smithsburg, said he was pretty confident the egg would survive the fall.

The box fell over after it landed but the egg did not crack.

"Heck yeah, man," team member Ian Parker, 18, of Hagerstown, said.

Einstein's Heroes put its egg in the middle of a sponge. The team wanted something lightweight and practical, member Kevin Foutch, 30, of Hagerstown, said.

The device was dropped and bounced once after hitting the ground, but the egg didn't crack.

Since the eggs of two teams made it unscathed through the drop, the other factors - the length of time, the mass and accuracy - came into play.

Mayer later calculated that Einstein's Heroes had the best results.

Mayer described the project as a "mix of bookwork and hands-on design work."

The students have to write reports summarizing how they came up with their devices and analyzing the results, Mayer said.

As members of the Newtons threw their box against a wall to see if that would make the egg crack - it didn't - Mayer said she thinks the students enjoyed the experiment.

"I think it went pretty well," she said.

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