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How strong is an eggshell? : Fizzics Education

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How strong is an eggshell?

How strong is an eggshell?

Follow FizzicsEd 150 Science Experiments:

You will need

  • At least 2 eggs (we used 4 to be on the safe side)
  • A bowl to save the egg yolks and whites (maybe use this for the Baked Alaska science cooking activity!)
  • Books
  • Optional: paints, paintbrushes and paper
  • Be aware of egg vapour allergies in your class

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A stack of books and 4 eggs in a white bowl
1 Cracking an egg into a white bowl

Carefully crack the eggs into a bowl. Don’t waste the egg contents, they are perfect for the Baked Alaska activity or simply for an extra yummy breakfast.

2 Washing an eggshell under running water

Wash the eggshells under running water and leave them to dry. You may want to trim the edges of the eggshells with scissors too.

3 4 eggshell halves arranged in a square shape

Arrange your eggshells so that they can support your stack of books.

4 Placing on book onto the eggshell halves

Gently place your first book onto the eggshells.

Extension: If you have access to some scales, this is a good chance to measure the mass of each book prior to adding them onto the stack.

5 A child adding books onto the eggshells on the table

Keep carefully adding books onto the eggshells… how many can they hold?

6 4 eggshell halves holding a stack of books up

As long as you keep the books centred, they can support quite a bit of weight!

7

Keep going until the books crush the eggshells!

8 Painting eggshells with craft paint

Optional – paint your eggs before testing their strength!

9 Painted eggshells holding up biology books on a table

Even if the edges of the eggshells are chipped, they still can handle a lot of weight!

10 Students spinning yro rings during a Fizzics Education workshop

What is going on?

Eggshells are very strong if they are compressed. The curved shape of the eggshell allows the force to be spread horizontally and vertically throughout the shell.

You can think of an eggshell as being like a 360-degree arched bridge. Engineers have known about the strength of arches for thousands of years. Arches are very stable and allow building structures to support a lot of weight. Some structures built by the ancient Romans have survived thousands of years due to arches built into their design.

Variables to test

  • What happens if you add more eggshell halves to your experiment?
  • Compare having 3 vs. 4 eggshell halves… does this hold a significantly greater weight?
  • Try different types of eggs

Going further

If you’re game… try the standing on eggs experiment too!

Stand on eggs science experiment - standing on eggs

Learn more!

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