Can you walk on eggs? All but one of us can

Can you walk on eggs? All but one of us can

Can you walk on eggs? All but one of us can 1024 673 Looking out Loud
  • In brief: Step on raw eggs, watch them hold your weight.
  • Time needed: 10-15 minutes
  • Skills encouraged: Curiosity, Courage, Engineering thinking
  • Age: 3 to adult

  • The year I met my wife in Barcelona, I was walking down the street and some dipshit threw an egg off his balcony and hit me. It broke.

    So when I read that eggs should be strong enough to hold an adult’s weight, I was curious. And nervous. Can we really stand on raw eggs without them breaking? Only one way to find out.

    Preparing for a non-scrambled egg walk

    It doesn’t take much to set this one up. Here’s what you need:

    • At least 12-24 eggs
    • A easy-to-clean floor, shower, drop cloth, and/or plastic sheet, just in case

    On our first attempt, we set up in the shower with 12 eggs. It’s enough to try, but twice as many eggs would have been better.

    Make sure the eggs are sitting in their tray with the pointier end up. You’ll see why it’s best to have the pointy end up below.

    Now shoes and socks off, and up you go!

    Try to distribute your weight evenly as you step your first foot onto the eggs. When you feel confident, shift your weight and lift your second foot off the ground and onto tomorrow’s breakfast. It helps to have something or someone to hold on to as you step.

    First kid up… wow, it worked! 😆

    Second kid up… cool, feeling more confident now 😁

    Daddy up… whew, hardly enough egg space for those feet 😅

    Mommy up… oooohh no, mommy! 😵 😂

    It startled her, then we all laughed. She didn’t get hurt, no cuts from the eggshells, just half a dozen eggs that won’t be used in omelets.

    So what happened? Well, I turned my head right when she stepped, so I can’t say for sure. But I think that her foot accidentally pushed a few eggs over on their side, so her weight didn’t distribute evenly over the pointy ends of the eggs. Then as she tried to quickly hop off, she scrambled a few more on the way.

    No worries. A couple paper towels, a plastic bag, a little rinse off, and all good.

    When you finish, make sure everyone washes their feet and hands with warm soapy water, as you always should after handling eggs.

    What makes eggs so strong?

    Eggs are designed for two nearly opposite tasks.

    They have to be strong enough to protect a developing embryo from getting crushed when mama hen plops down to keep them warm.

    But they have to be weak enough that a baby chick can crack its way out when it’s time to hatch.

    This conflict is solved by the shape of the egg and the distribution of force.

    When you crack an egg to cook an omelet, you tap the side of the egg against a thin hard edge like a pan, glass, or knife. That sharp force is unevenly distributed in a small area on the side of the egg. And much like with a baby chick’s pecking beak, the shell easily cracks.

    But the two ends of the eggs are more curved, forming a nice three-dimensional arch. When you stand on the arches of the eggshells, the pressure from your body is distributed down throughout the entire shell, rather than concentrated in a single point. You also step onto lots of eggs at once, so your weight is spread over a dozen cleverly designed arches.

    Nature has designed all kinds of these clever structures. Now see how clever humans have learned to use these structures in familiar designs.

    Reverse Eggineering

    Engineers have stolen this basic arch principle and applied it all around us. Bridges and cathedrals are good examples.

    Just like with our eggs, these arches help distribute the weight that’s pressed down on them.

    Next time you’re out, pay attention to bridges and buildings. Do you see any arches you never noticed before? Now you know why they’re there.