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Active Time
30-45 minutes
Total Project Time
30-45 minutes
Key Concepts
arch, load, structural engineering, mass
Four halves of an eggshell are used to balance three books

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 1,200 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
  • A rotary tool, sometimes called a dremel, similar to Amazon.com. Alternatively it is possible, but more challenging, to use a small triangular file.
  • Safety goggles, to protect your eyes from bits of egg shell when using the rotary tool
  • Hardcover book
  • Several magazines or light-weight books

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Active Time
30-45 minutes
Total Project Time
30-45 minutes
Key Concepts
arch, load, structural engineering, mass
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