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How Strong are Eggshells?

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1 buddy review
by Teisha Rowland, PhD
Active Time
30-45 minutes
Total Project Time
30-45 minutes
Key Concepts
arch, load, structural engineering, mass
Eggshells spaced equally apart on a dinner plate with a book and magazines on top.

Introduction

Have you ever seen an arch structure in a building, such as over a doorway or surrounding large windows? Arches have been used in structural engineering since ancient times. In this activity you will test the strength of a naturally occurring arch shape: the shell of an egg. So grab some eggs and put them to good engineering use in trying to answer the following question: Just how much mass can an eggshell can support?

Credits

Teisha Rowland, PhD, Science Buddies
This activity is not appropriate for use as a science fair project. Good science fair projects have a stronger focus on controlling variables, taking accurate measurements, and analyzing data. To find a science fair project that is just right for you, browse our library of over 1,150 Science Fair Project Ideas or use the Topic Selection Wizard to get a personalized project recommendation.

Materials

  • Raw eggs (at least 3)
  • A bowl
  • Dinner plate or other large, flat surface to place eggshells on for testing
  • Pencil or marker
  • Optional: Ruler
  • Small triangular file. This is available from online suppliers such as Amazon.com. Alternatively, you may be able to find this at your local hardware or hobby store, most likely as part of a set of small files.
    • An alternative is to use a rotary motor tool. A basic set with a cut-off disk is available from Amazon.com.
    • If you use a rotary tool, be sure to wear safety goggles, which are available from Amazon.com. You may also want to wear a dust mask, which is also available from Amazon.com.
  • Hardcover book
  • Several magazines or light-weight books
    Materials needed to test the strength of eggshells.
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Active Time
30-45 minutes
Total Project Time
30-45 minutes
Key Concepts
arch, load, structural engineering, mass