This session is intended to introduce the concept of minimal design and its effects. Each group has to compete in creatively designing a box that will be used to protect an egg from breaking when dropped from a height. Our design was dropped three times from the fourth floor, once by itself, once with five pounds, and once with ten pounds. Each group had a challenge of minimal design (we had to use only the materials that were provided to us. The best design will be chosen from the ones that do not fail, and will be the most minimal design.


Each group was given a box (about a foot on each side) and a raw egg. The box had to protect the egg from damage when dropped from the fourth floor. Since the yolk in the egg is always free to move around, when the box stops abruptly, the yolk will break through the shell. So that also has to be taken into consideration. The other challenge is the weight that gets added on the second and third tries.
Specific rules were set for this competition. Each group had to use only the materials provided to them. Nothing extra had to be sticking out of the box, for example parachutes. Next each group had to hand in the price list for their design before the testing began. After the three tests, the box that keeps the egg undamaged and is the cheapest design wins.
The materials that were given to us for this project are; bubble wrap, cotton wrap, scotch tape, rubber bands, Styrofoam pieces, staples, and seran wrap.

Experimental Work
Our group decided to make a box that would keep the egg undamaged and would be minimal design. This is what the design looked like.

For the first test, we dropped the box from the fourth floor without any additional weight. The design survived the first test. For the second test, we dropped the container from the same height with an additional five pounds taped to the bottom of it. The design survived this also. For the third test, the container was dropped with ten pounds tapped to the bottom of it. This is where our design failed. The egg seemed to have cracked against the bottom of the box from the great speed and the sudden stop.

For this minimal design concept, we used only some of the materials that were provided to us. Our group only ended up using forty cents to make the container.

We saw that the egg cracked on the bottom and only slightly. Then after the review of the container, we concluded that the rubber bands didnít support the egg in mid-container since they were not tight enough.

The designs fails when dropped from a given height because the entire container accelerates, and then stops abruptly making the egg smash against the container or the yolk smash through the shell.
If a greater height was used, the velocity that the box would achieve would be much greater and the eggs would break faster. All the materials that were provided were there to give us a variety in designs.
Each materialís cost was different, which enabled us to determine the cheapest design. Instead of the seran wrap, we would have liked to use the zip-lock bag. This would let the egg move around inside of the bag instead of like in the seran wrap, only the yolk moved inside the egg.
Minimal design was emphasized because it would not be practical to make a ten dollar container for something that cost ten cents. That would be impractical.
At the end, all of the groups in our class had their eggs damaged or broken. So nobody won the contest. Although our group had the second cheapest design and only a fracture crack in the egg after the final test.