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Problem-Solving Assignment

Posted on 2004-09-15
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I have an assignment in my Computer Science class where we are to create something out of drinking straws and tape that will allow an egg to survive a 6 foot fall.  We have an unlimited amount of tape and straws.  Any ideas?
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Question by:raymm
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by:Galisteo8
ID: 12069761
Does it have to free-fall and then have its acceleration arrested by your tape-n-straw device?  If not, how about using a six-foot tall funnel, slightly bigger than the egg at the top and gradually tapering to egg-size at the bottom, with perhaps a slight curvature near the bottom so that the egg rolls out instead of dropping vertically. The friction from the sides of the funnel would negate a lot of the egg's acceleration, and control its descent. This is not tested, of course; I'm just brainstorming...
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by:snoyes_jw
ID: 12071587
Easy.  Use the tape and drinking straws to measure 7 feet high.  Drop the egg from that height, and watch how it survives the first 6 feet 11 inches without breaking.
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by:snoyes_jw
ID: 12071594
Ok, more practically, you can surround the egg with a 10 or more straw thick cushion in all directions.  It ought to survive.  

Do you get bonus points for using fewer straws and less tape than the others in the class?
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by:Jason210
ID: 12073348
Since you have an unlimited amount of tape and straws, just make a big pile of this on the classroom floor, then drop the egg on it.
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by:abdriver2000
ID: 12073694
Make the egg bungee-jump. Make a rope from straws & tape, and suspend it from a height of 6ft+
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by:knollbert
ID: 12073875
>Ok, more practically, you can surround the egg with a 10 or more straw thick cushion in all directions.  It ought to survive.
Will work In 8th grade science, we had a similar project using rubber bands and straws, but it had to survive > 20 ft
try Padding the box inside and out with crumpled tape


KIS
Keep it Simple

(the more complex, the more things to go wrong)
 Oh yeah TEST it. at home
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Arawn earned 500 total points
ID: 12074192
The easiest thing is to probably grab a box of straws and take a batch of straws out of the middle of the box. Only take enough straws so that the egg can fit in the hole that they have left. From the middle of these straws cut out a length equal to the length of the egg. Then put the bottom half of the straws back in the box, put the egg in the hole, and then put the top part of the straws back in the box. You now have a box of straws with a hole cut in the middle of it, and in the middle you are resting your egg. Tape the box up and drop away! This is probably the easiest way to do it and you have only used one box of straws and hardly any tape. this design should stand up to pretty much anything.
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by:JK2429
ID: 12074620
Do it the similar way nasa did their project.

Make about 4 Balls of tape, make sure it is loosely packed to take the impact of the falling egg.
Connect the straws using very little tape to make it a "blanket" on the 4 balls.

This is a very ugly picture of what I think it should look like:


----\                                         /---
      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\///////////////
        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\///////////////
      0000                           0000
     00000                        0000000
      0000                           0000
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by:JK2429
ID: 12074644
The "blanket" of straws should look something similar to this:
|---------------------------------------------------|
 | |-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-| |
 |  |-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|   |
 | |-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-| |
|---------------------------------------------------|
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by:knollbert
ID: 12074702
Remember murphy's law

the egg will mostlike land upside down or on side
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by:knollbert
ID: 12074709
Make that a cube and its a great ideas using the tape a cushion
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by:Galisteo8
ID: 12076079
Don't forget combining some methods -- say, the straws packed around the egg, and then the whole thing falling onto a tape cushion.

Say, what about a cushion of layered tape and straws? Alternating layers would provide both the advantages of rigiditiy and flexibility for decelerating the ova.

00000000000000000000000000000000
 0000000000000000000000000000000
=========================
=========================
00000000000000000000000000000000
 0000000000000000000000000000000
=========================
=========================
00000000000000000000000000000000
 0000000000000000000000000000000
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by:ozo
ID: 12076201
Wrap the egg in a 6 foot thick layer of tape.
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by:knollbert
ID: 12076507
Nice idea ozo
Best i've seen
2 advantages
    1)  cushioning
    2) if the egg breaks it will be very hard to tell
1 disadvange( at least with rubberbands)
    1) if the egg must be seen afterwards you may break it taking the tape off

raymm
If using Ozo's idea you might want to ask the method of determining hieght that it falls from
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by:Galisteo8
ID: 12076817
>>Wrap the egg in a 6 foot thick layer of tape.<<

LOL. I recall from physics class that due to gravity everything is constantly falling toward the center of the earth, even when it appears to be sitting still in a big ball of tape.
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by:SunBow
ID: 12077880
> Any ideas?

Unlimited straws? Keep it that way - make really really big pile on the floor, for this the tape is superfluous, although if you take basketweaving class, you can probably make a nice mat like firefighters have for jumpers
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by:SunBow
ID: 12077905
> allow an egg to survive a 6 foot fall

good, only six feet, to a mile high pile of straws.  Since it is unsaid about condition of egg when dropped, try making it hard-boiled first.  Ostrich egg or Robin?
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by:knollbert
ID: 12077917
Soak it in vinegar too so it will bounce
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by:SunBow
ID: 12078228
In review, I like the cushion ones too, but I think I like the seven foot start point of snoyes_jw  even better, in science, how about the dive into Jupiter, it can be valid, to a point.

I was thinking of something woven for 'chute, something retaining (like rubberband), but I think I'd rather pursue the funnel, if this can be different.  Think of truckers in mountains going down steep slope, losing braking, there's often an uphill ramp before long to help them slow down.

With infinity of straws, you can create a slope so low as to be nearly level, maybe let go at 6 ft up and it takes hours to roll all the way down. Just remember the trucker, at the bottom of ramp leave a little cushioning, and have a corresponding up slope (ramp) afterwards to give it a reason to slow down, rolling back and forth for awhile.  I still think whatever the path of straws that you should hardboil the egg first.  Bad pictogram:


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\
  \                         /
    \                     /
      \                 /
       =======/

That is obviously too steep a slope, try a graduation over a mile or so.  Some rollercoasters have have similar back and forth ramping for slowing down, but with just straight straws to work with it'd take more work to get them to form a reasonable curvature to ease the strain.

What is the atmosphere?  How about filling the room full of liquid first, try water, then milk, then mercury, something along those lines (thickening fluids). No requirement for it to actually reach the bottom, is there?

Some straws are stiff, if you cannot soften them, I am uncertain about fuend behaviors, so I've doubts now about my mile high pile unless you use the tape for softening up ends, such as done in some prior examples.

If tape is unlimited, take my example of gradual slope of straws, and change it to have slope of tape (what kind?), where tape is sticky side up.  It doesn't then take too narrow a slope for egg to slow down long before reaching the bottom. (but boil it first) - assuming that actually striking the bottom is not a goal.  (I still like the 7 ft drop best)
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by:SunBow
ID: 12078303
> Soak it in vinegar ...

Take stiff straw, poke one hole each at the vertical ends. with lips over one end, blow contents out the other.

This shell will still break easy enough, but it will also be more light and steady than the original fluidic model.  A sticky ramp would almost guarantee it not reaching bottom, and it'll be much slower about sinking in any fluid, especially if you tape up the two holes.  Use of thick atmosphere reduces this to max of one straw, no tape.  If you are planner, not actually running experiment, have it done off planet, say on Mars, or moon, or even something smaller to further minimize impact of gravity
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by:Galisteo8
ID: 12078321
>>try a graduation over a mile or so<<

Straws and tape may be unlimited in theory but surely space is limited... Unless you only need to *design* a solution and not actually test it in the classroom?

Oh -- another important limiter of straw and tape provisions: School budget.  :)
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by:computerg33k
ID: 12079543
I too had to do this assignment--I won--My egg contraption never broke and weighed the less between my egg and the other 2 left unbroken.  What I did was ball up the tape and stuck it all around the egg as cusioning.  Then i put two layers of straws like a blanket around it, then i put a lot sticking out (like a pork-e-pine--sorry can't spell) so that when it fell to the ground it rolled.

                           ||||||
                      |||| ------||||
                     ||||----0----||
                      |||| ------||||
                           |||||||

the 0 being the egg with tape balled up around it
---- being straws laid flat like a blanket
||| being straws standing up so that they bounce
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by:solution46
ID: 12083277
>> That is obviously too steep a slope, try a graduation over a mile or so.  Some rollercoasters have have similar
>> back and forth ramping for slowing down, but with just straight straws to work with it'd take more work to get
>> them to form a reasonable curvature to ease the strain.

I wouldnlt have thought it would roll at all at this angle - friction is too great. Besides, any irregularity in the gradient will most likely result in local 'up' regions. Overall idea is good though - try about a 1:8 in thereabouts gradient. This will allow the egg to roll at a decent speed but not accelerate too much, and a 50 odd foot long contraption will fit an any self-respecting school hall or similar.

Galisteo8  also had a point about combining ideas....

Make it drop 7' onto a gentle slope, surround in in a soft tape / straw cushion and use a boiled egg soaked in vinegar. That should do the trick.. :)

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by:tonsofpcs
ID: 12090154
i would make a parabolic cushion, not a gradual slope, as a gradual slope is more like just a horizontal stretch.  
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by:Xxavier
ID: 12092111
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by:eternal_21
ID: 12092729
Computer Science class ?
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by:eternal_21
ID: 12092739
Are you actually going to build these devices, or are you going to be writing software to model and test your contraptions???
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by:raymm
ID: 12094114
We are actually going to build these devices eternal_21
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by:tonsofpcs
ID: 12094390
does it have to drop from 6', or from 6' above anything you build that isn't egg-based?
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by:Roonaan
ID: 12095854
Take a hen drop it from 6' on a small layer (40cm) of tape and straps, and wait until the hen lays an egg.

-r-
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by:Xxavier
ID: 12095980
..of the isites I posted I think the coolest and and one that probably works as it is a porcupine design is this
http://clconline.clcillinois.edu/ss/stuact/engclub/drop.jpg
(ps the images  enlarge for the 2nd site)
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by:Excalibur_Software
ID: 12099367
One Idea I did not see is to create a wing and let the EGG fly
Try creating 2 long sections of straws say 2 ft long
Now tilt the section at 60 degrees from each other
Tape unit together this should look like old airplane prop
Now in the center tape an enough straws together to hold the weight of the egg
At the end of the straws tape the egg

Front View            
\\\\\\\\\//////////      
         |||                  
         |||
        EGG
That should allow your egg to fall from any distance
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by:billyvandergaw
ID: 12101967
ok easiest wAy...

take a strip of tap and put it on a row of spaced straws.  then take the straws with the tape on it, a enwrap in around the egg...then tape the two ends of all straws together so the egg doesn't fall out...then start sticking in more straws in the spaces and make it into something that looks like a porcupine sea urchin...the straws will take the fall AND distribute the fall force around to the other straws.   It looks dumb and not creative, but the best solutions are the simplest, and most effective in the same.  

goodluck, and can i have the expertise points?  
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by:knollbert
ID: 12102014
billyvandergaw
Check out
Q_21132663.html#12092111 From earlier in the post
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by:DanRollins
ID: 12107163
solution:  Search the internet for the words "egg" and "drop."  

As in your previous "puzzle" you made this so ambiguous that snoyes_jw's first post is a complete solution and deserves the points -- for creatively thinking outside of the box.
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by:DanRollins
ID: 12110208
Also, what has this to do with Computer Science?  It is a physical engineering challenge.
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by:grg99
ID: 12114615
The best cushion might be to make a tetrahedron out of straws.  Just make four triangles out of straws, then tape them together to make a 3D triangle.  

Now suspend the egg in the center, using several lengths of tape going from edge to edge.

Should be very strong and uses a minimum of straws.

If you're careful, you can even get rid of the double straws along the edges and just use one straw (altho it's harder to build).

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by:HJohnson
ID: 12117615
I thought that helping someone with homework or schoolwork was not allowed?  
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by:tonsofpcs
ID: 12119147
From what I understand, helping is allowed, doing it for him/her/them isn't,
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by:HJohnson
ID: 12124119
I think he really should have done the investigation/brain work himself.  He's just been given several solutions - shame on you all!   ;-)

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by:tidda
ID: 12149828
huh, so many resposes but only Galisteo8s response right at the top is worth a think ... just want to add further to it. The tape can be used to line the inside of the funnel (sticky side exposed) to further decelerate the egg due to it's sticky properties.
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by:DanRollins
ID: 12153711
Galisteo8's response is nonsense.  It would take days to build such a funnel out of drinking straws and tape.  Almost any of the other answers (i.e., anything that wraps the eg and cusions the fall) are more reasonable.
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by:Galisteo8
ID: 12170458
Hey - That was a youthful indiscretion from nearly 2 weeks ago! I in no way endorse or encourage the funnel idea. It's just the first thing that popped into my head. At the time, for some unexplained reason, I was thinking that the project required some contraption SEPARATE from the egg. :)  Clearly in a comp-sci class efficiency is the key, and the funnel uses far too much "code" and is in-elegant.
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by:NovaDenizen
ID: 12194084
Create a 5-foot bunjee cord.
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by:minichicken
ID: 12215372
As long as the material that you use to absorb the downfall force of the egg is softer then the egg shell itself, it should not break the egg.

j311y :)
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by:snoyes_jw
ID: 12217434
I know, burn large amounts of straw and tape into carbon.  Drop the egg on the burned pile from a sufficient height to compress it into diamond.  Use the diamond to bribe the teacher to give you full credit.
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by:stefan73
ID: 12219264
Hi raymm,
Create a parabola-shaped track for your egg, very similar to a ski jump, but continous, all the way down and then all the way up again. Make sure the cross-section is U-shaped, so the egg can't jump off the edges.

After the egg's potential energy has been converted to kinetic energy & back a couple of times, your egg will be lying about at ground level, unharmed.


Cheers!

Stefan
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by:DanRollins
ID: 12220830
Since this came up in a Computer Science class, your best bet would be to create a Turing Machine... you can use the masking tape as the "paper tape" and use the straws for pulleys and such.  Write a program that models the effect of gravity on ovoid objects and use it to prove some obscure fact about warpage of the space-time continuum.  The resulting machine will easily be large enough to cushion the impact.

Incidently, is there a rule as to where you must stand when you drop the egg?  If you can choose a microgravity environment, such as on the International Space Station or an asteroid, the exercise is rather trivial.
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by:luom
ID: 12227791
hmmm,
this ill be a bit long winded ....

... is it a boiled egg ? any way, This would probly be a little harder the the other ideas

0 =  egg
- or | = straw
. = tape(assumed sticky tape ... ?)

|---------|
| .       . |
|  .     .  |
|   .   .   |
|     0    |
|   .   .   |
|  .     .  |
| .        .|
|---------|

creat a cube of straws, creat a holder for the egg a mixture of straws and tape will be required. simply tape the egg holder to all 4 conoures of the cube structure. there must be a bit of slack on the tape to absorve the shock. for better results, X shape on every cube surface would be best.
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by:tonsofpcs
ID: 12255674
I like the Turing Machine idea :)
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by:jhshukla
ID: 12255994
\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  ///////////////////
 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\///////////////////
 ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
 ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||

rotate around vertical axis to get the 3D version. drop the egg in the center.
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by:abdriver2000
ID: 12256071
Can we have some feedback from raymm please? Did you try any of the ideas mentioned above?
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by:tonsofpcs
ID: 12265077
Does it need to be a chicken egg, or just any egg? you could use either a harder egg or a softer egg [try at home, just make sure it won't splatter on anything if it breaks] to the point where it works.  
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by:DanRollins
ID: 12265497
It is senseless to ask raymm anything.  He has abandoned this question.  

Although he was active as recently as 2 weeks ago when he asked a question in the  Networking TA, he has not even replied to any comments made there.  

This is an "ask-and-forget" type of guy -- and that irritates me.  

I have posting negative feedback.  http:/viewMemberFeedback.jsp?mid=1005647
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by:Xxavier
ID: 12267768
raymm,
       Stick this in the address bar (in IE) and press return. It will list all the contributors which may help in grading.

javascript: function d(){A=new Array();s='';t=0;r=new RegExp('[0-9html_Q.]*$','i');r1=new RegExp('[0-9]{6,}$');r2=new RegExp('undefined');for (i=0;i<document.anchors.length;i++){if (r1.test(document.anchors[i].name)){ix=document.anchors[i].parentNode.childNodes[2].innerHTML;A[ix]+='*';t+=1}}c=0;for (j in A){A[j]= A[j].replace(r2,'');A[j]=':- '+A[j].length+' '+A[j]}for (j in A){ s+='<br>'+j ;s+=A[j];c++}b=0;w=window.open('','','');w.document.write(c+' Contributors ' +t+' Posts<br>'+s);}d()
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by:Xxavier
ID: 12331102
raymm,  you put a lot of thought into grading that, reponding to your questions is a waste of time.
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by:jhshukla
ID: 12336205
I reject the the answer. the solution uses a box which is not mentioned in the question. the author must accept some other answer that does not involve anything other than straws and tape.
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by:DanRollins
ID: 12336378
The negative feedback I sent seems to have been removed.    Strange.  I am also puzzled that nobody else posted feedback in this question.  I am puzzled that so few people post negative feedback even when it is richly deserved.
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by:ozo
ID: 12336406
How do you post feedback?
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by:Excalibur_Software
ID: 12337967
Why post feedback when all that has to be done it to have admin remove it.
jhshukla  the box messioned what the bax the staws came in and they were on part of the answer.
btw each time we keep posting to this question resets the clock and makes the question live on. If we stop posting this question will die.

Thank you for your time
Al
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by:Xxavier
ID: 12370688
>>each time we keep posting to this question resets the clock and makes the question live on<<

I did not realise that, :)
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