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Physics of Legos

physics research paper help

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16 replies to this topic

#1 Online Click

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Posted Jan 02 2013 - 06:01 PM

So, I'm working on a research paper, and my teacher told us our topic can be "Physics of [anything you could possibly think of]." So, I chose Lego building, not picturing that pretty much every site I look up is about how to simulate physics theories with Lego bricks. I was wondering if you guys know anything about the physics of Lego I can borrow, and it would be very nice if I could get sources from it (although most of the sites will probably get blocked). Thank you.


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#2 Offline Death of the Endless

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Posted Jan 02 2013 - 10:26 PM

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]You should come up with a different paper topic if it isn't too late.   I can't come up with anything that really qualifies as physics.[/font]

 

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]Try searching "why do lego bricks stick together".  That yields some results.  I won't be more specific since you would probably be cheating if I did.[/font]


Edited by Death of the Endless, Jan 02 2013 - 10:27 PM.

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#3 Online Click

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Posted Jan 02 2013 - 10:59 PM

Well, it is a more elementary physics class, like basic forces, motion, etc. Kind of depends on what you define as "physics" I guess.

 

And no, I cannot change the topic. Now I'm wishing I could.


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#4 Offline Death of the Endless

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Posted Jan 02 2013 - 11:40 PM

Well, we all make mistakes like that.  How long does the paper have to be?

 

Oh, I just thought of another thing.  What if you research the composition of Lego bricks and the properties of those substances?  It's a stretch on the original concept, but I think it's probably your best bet if you want to actually complete this thing.


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#5 Online Click

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Posted Jan 03 2013 - 12:34 AM

Five pages. Minimum. Luckily I think it can be double-spaced. My physics teacher wasn't clear on guidelines. Pretty much all I know about the requirements was the topic. I might try that, see if I can fit another page in, but most of it will be "embellishments," aka I'm just going to throw some semi-relevant stuff in to expand it. :D


Edited by Click, Jan 03 2013 - 12:35 AM.

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#6 Offline bonesiii

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Posted Jan 03 2013 - 01:24 AM

Were you going to incorporate that news story we did recently about how much weight they can take?


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#7 Online Click

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Posted Jan 03 2013 - 01:49 AM

Of course. It's one of my 4 sources. :D


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#8 Offline Taipu1

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Posted Jan 03 2013 - 09:34 AM

Possibly you could do something on precision and the tolerance of the bricks?  You get so much variance between how well parts hold together, and yet Lego build them to microscopic levels of accuracy.  Just a thought, I don't have a source or anything of info you could use.

 

Alternatively you could look at some more unique lego parts, such as the clutch gear piece with metal plates in it or electric motors.  But that sort of thing might give you too much stuff to work with.


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#9 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Jan 03 2013 - 09:44 AM

This doesn't go into too great depth about the actual physics of LEGO, but http://bramlambrecht...s-bf06.pdf]this presentation[/url] by Jamie Berard at Brickfest 2006 goes into some detail about which connections force parts into compression. There's definitely some physics involved there, but I don't know how much of it would really be applicable in your class without a lot of detail about why materials like ABS have specific tolerances.

 

Another page related to brick tolerances, though in this case to heat tolerances rather than stress tolerances, is http://creator.lego....id=3332995]this entry in the LEGO Creator Blog[/url]-- also, incidentally, by Jamie Berard. But of course, it is written for kids and again doesn't go into much detail about the actual physics involved.

 

One definite thing you could refer to with lots of physics applications is LEGO Technic. For instance, you could describe how different gear configurations will result in different speed and torque. An eight-tooth gear driven by a 24-tooth gear will have three times the rotation speed and 1/3 of the torque. In contrast, a 24-tooth gear driven by an eight-tooth gear will have three times the torque and 1/3 of the rotation speed. Searching "LEGO Technic torque" on Google brought me a number of useful guides to LEGO Technic gearing, but some of the more reliable ones have commenting systems and thus I am hesitant to link to them from BZPower. There are also a number of books on the various principles of LEGO Technic, some of which you may be able to find at a public library if you are hesitant to purchase something you may not need after this one project.


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#10 Offline The Legendary TNT

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Posted Jan 03 2013 - 10:05 AM

That first presentation you linked to, I must admit; I have done most of those things. Probably 9/10 of them I have done. And some of them I thought worked fine.


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#11 Offline Great Being Velika

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Posted Jan 03 2013 - 11:04 AM

Maybe you could do something with joints and how much force takes to bend them at certain angles?


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#12 Online Click

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Posted Jan 03 2013 - 02:43 PM

Wow, thanks guys. I've found a few more sources, such as frictional coefficients of ABS plastic and the equations behind inference fitting, and I think I might be able to finish, thanks to you guys. :)


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#13 Online TheSkeletonMan939

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Posted Jan 09 2013 - 05:49 PM

Next time, your favorite toy may not be the best choice for a five-page paper on physics. :P


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#14 Offline Obsessionist

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Posted Jan 10 2013 - 09:35 PM

I feel you pain, I did my seventh grade science fair project on Lego Technic drives (gear, chain, ect.).  I submitted it to a couple of symposiums, so there was a lot of research involved, and it was killer.  The trick is to find basic properties and relate them back to Lego, rather than vice-versa.  Also Technic books are your friend.


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#15 Online Click

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Posted Jan 10 2013 - 10:34 PM

Okay, got it turned in. Hope I did well. :)


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#16 Offline mistergryphon

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Posted Jan 11 2013 - 12:10 PM

Okay, got it turned in. Hope I did well. :)

 

Best of luck to you


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#17 Offline Dual Cee

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Posted Jan 11 2013 - 12:34 PM

Okay, got it turned in. Hope I did well. :)

 

Good luck and be shure to post the results here, I'd love to see it.


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