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An Egg

Science brain teasers require understanding of the physical or biological world and the laws that govern it.


Puzzle ID:#39440
Fun:*** (3.08)
Difficulty:** (1.84)
Submitted By:pokpic*us******




A science teacher told his after school class, "Whoever can get this egg into this smaller glass bottle will win no homework for a week! The rules are: the egg has to go into the bottle in one piece, and you can't break the bottle. You can also use anything in the science lab. So, do we have any volunteers?"

A boy raised his hand and the teacher pointed at him. The boy took the egg and looked around the science lab for the things he could use. He saw some writing paper, a pack of matches, some vinegar, a sink, and the glass bottle. By the end of the after school class, the boy had gotten the egg into the smaller bottle.

How did he do it?

Note that, without doing anything to the egg, the egg can't fit into the bottle.

What Next?


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Dec 02, 2007

Surely by removing the shell, the egg is no longer in one piece? When the egg was given to the student, it still had on its shell and the puzzle was to get it in the bottle "in one piece". by removing the shell, the student has broken the one stipulation of the puzzle.
Dec 02, 2007

This teaser does not work because after taking off the shell, the egg is no longer one piece. Sorry, but you have to either follow your own rules or dont post a teaser.
Dec 02, 2007

Dec 02, 2007

Well i didint get it but i did like it .
Dec 02, 2007

im sorry if the rules werent clear enough
Dec 02, 2007

The rules were very clear, the egg must remain in "one piece", and removing the shell takes away a piece of the egg, there fore breaking the rules of the challenge.
Dec 02, 2007

im sry mad-ade i just didnt know how to explain that without giving the answer away.
Dec 02, 2007

I understand that, but the teaser as it is now, is just wrong and impossible.
Dec 03, 2007

you didn't really think this one through enough
Dec 03, 2007

Just enjoy it for what it is people!!!
Dec 03, 2007

what, wrong you mean?
Dec 05, 2007

This is a well-known science demonstration, but it was always posed saying that you couldn't "break" the egg. So if you boil and peel it, you still have the egg, and if it's sucked into the bottle whole, you haven't "broken" it. The problem might have been better stated if that language had been used, but it's a good teaser just the same.
Dec 05, 2007

isn't the shell part of the egg? so if you remove the shell, you haven't actually got the full egg, only part of it.
Dec 31, 2007

Hey, maddie ... so if someone is having "ham and eggs" for breakfast, then they're really having only "ham and egs"??
Jan 01, 2008

Thought it was hard-boiled. Didn't get the vinegar part then. ...And I now officially have 250 teaser votes! w00t!
Jan 01, 2008

There seems to be a bit of confusion here. I don't see anywhere in the answer that the egg shell would be removed. By soaking the egg in vinegar the egg isn't dissolved, but rather becomes flexible such that the whole egg could change shape ie. fit into the shape of the neck of the glass bottle. After a while the shell rehardens. Once this has happened the egg is unharmed and unaltered from its original state. This is a pretty common highschool science experiment. Thus, this answer is correct and suitable for the question given.
Jan 03, 2008

Fishooky, I added the part about vinegar. The original teaser had the egg being boiled and the shell removed.
Jan 28, 2008

i knew that
Feb 08, 2008

i got the answer right !
Apr 19, 2008

This teaser still doesn't work. Nobody thought of this. What if the fire goes out? Since fire needs oxygen, without it, it will die. Or, if this egg gets into the bottle, won't it drop in and then hit one of the sides, thus cracking it?
Apr 30, 2008

The explanation is flawed; fire can't go an look for oxygen or selectively draw it in from the outside. The heat of the fire heats up the air in the bottle and it expands, the egg is positioned while the air is hot and expanded. When the air cools and contracts it usually would draw in air from outside but now draws in the egg due to pressure differences
Oct 10, 2008

This TEASER was a standard Science experiment when I was in 7th grade. Soo many years ago. Good teaser. To those who didn't get it, talk to an old person (someone who is at least 60.
Oct 10, 2008

It works, the description is just SLIGHTLY wrong.

The fire burns, heating and expanding the air, which pushes out around the egg. When the oxygen is used up the fire goes out, the air cools, contracting, and sucks the egg in with the fresh air.
(user deleted)
Oct 10, 2008

You soak the egg in vinager it softens the shell so that the egg will contract enough to slip into the bottle!!!!!
Oct 10, 2008

Very good teaser. It sure has sparked a lot of controversy, got people thinking. Thanks for posting.
Oct 10, 2008

I did the soak-the-egg in vinegar thing as a kid, but it took days to soften the shell. And I don't see it being sucked into a bottle neck, but a good teaser nonetheless.
Oct 10, 2008

I've done this. If the egg is hard-boiled it actually happens very quickly. Don't pay any attention to the morons who talk about expanding air etc
Oct 10, 2008

This is something fun I could do with my kids!
Oct 10, 2008

I did this many years ago. It works.It is an old trick originally created by a scientist by the name of Oliver Dorndofer.
Oct 10, 2008

Science Doesn't Suck!!! No where is there any "sucking" activity. Technically there isn't any sucking anywhere in nature because you can't have negative absolute pressure.

As people have stated the heated air expands and some of it escapes into the atmosphere. When the air cools, it contracts and creates a lower pressure in the bottle. The air in the bottle is still pushing on the egg, just not as hard as the atmospheric air. The egg feels the difference in pressure and is pushed (not sucked) into the bottle.
Oct 10, 2008

I am soooo not a scientist!!!!
Oct 10, 2008

This was a good one. I guessed the vinegar part right. And I don't think the rules were flawed. The shell was never removed, it was just softened by the vinegar. Good One!!!!!
Oct 10, 2008

"As people have stated the heated air expands and some of it escapes into the atmosphere. When the air cools, it contracts and creates a lower pressure in the bottle. The air in the bottle is still pushing on the egg, just not as hard as the atmospheric air. The egg feels the difference in pressure and is pushed (not sucked) into the bottle."

That explanation SUCKS !
Oct 10, 2008

A great experiment! I seem to remember another that used vinegar, and the eggs turn into "rubber balls" you could bounce. Anyone else remember?
Oct 10, 2008

I'd heard this before, but I couldn't remember all of it. Good teaser!

I disagree with the first two comments. The egg's shell was never removed.
Oct 10, 2008

I agree. Some of the comments were stupid! Did they READ the explanation???
Anyway, I must have heard it before, because it was vaguely familiar, but I couldn't exactly put it together.
I must send it to my grandsons to see if they can figure it out. They are 8 & 10.
Good one! Thanks!
Oct 10, 2008

Oct 10, 2008

FredS, in responce to your post, quote:

"I've done this. If the egg is hard-boiled it actually happens very quickly. Don't pay any attention to the morons who talk about expanding air etc" - FredS

Well the "morons" as you call them who are talking about expanding air happen to be correct. Fire does not seek to draw oxygen from outside. Also, the process consuming oxygen (the fire) is also producing the products of combustion at an equal rate. So there is no change in the air mass because of the combustion process inside the bottle. The result of the egg being drawn in is caused solely by the expansion/contraction; heating/cooling of air inside the bottle.

If you have actually done this experiment as you say, you should have noticed that the egg was drawn in some time AFTER the fire went out! Any "moron" should have then realized it has nothing to do with burnt up oxygen, but rather outside air pressure pushing the egg into the low air pressure bottle.
Oct 10, 2008

Wow! I never thought that my teaser would be so popular. Thanks for all the comments!
Oct 10, 2008

To stem the tide of argument -- remember, if you will, that force is relative. Depending on your point of reference, the inside of the bottle can be sucking in OR the air outside can be pushing.

As for the difference between expansion/contraction and hot/cold -- the temperature causes the expansion/contraction so, technically, either answer is correct on that as well.

Ain't science grand?
Oct 10, 2008

yes I agree kench. The point Im making is the assumption that oxygen molecules being used up by the fire is creating the vacuum is false. The oxygen being "burnt up" is being replaced with products from the combustion at the same rate. The air's mass or total number of molecules is not being "burned up". Instead some of it is pushed out of the bottle from the heating and resultant expansion of air as described in many posts above. And only AFTER the the fire goes out does the air cool and contract to create the vacuum if you will to, ok, suck the egg in. Im not contending the use of "suck" or "push" to be terms more or less correct than another. But the heating/expansion and cooling/contraction of air each occur prescisely in order for this to work and the theory of oxygen being burnt to creat a vacuum is just plain wrong.
Oct 10, 2008

I knew it had something to do with all three stated objects. Good Teaser.
Oct 12, 2008

Got the answer easily, but what a lot of confusion in some of the posts. Oh,well.....good teaser.
Oct 14, 2008

Thanks for a great, stimulating teaser. I've seen this done a few times with a peeled, hard-boiled egg. But the vinegar-softened shell is a new twist to me. Wlmahne's explanation of why it works is correct.
Oct 15, 2008

I remember this from science class many years ago, and I think it was hard-boiled with no shell. I don't remember anything about soaking it in vinegar.
Nov 26, 2008

Wow i really wanna try that now!
Aug 07, 2009

I though that he broke the egg, but put in only one piece (it had to be in one piece), but I guess that wouldn't work, since it would still be in more than one piece (outside of the bottle).
Mar 09, 2011

I can't understand why people don't read all the posts before commenting on a particular one! Initially, the answer was given as the egg was boiled, an incorrect answer, and later changed to the present vinegar method. I thought this was hard! But fun!!
(user deleted)
Apr 19, 2011

dear idiots trying to be smart by saying it isn't possible because he removed the shell....where does it say he removed the shell, he soaked it in vinegar to soften the shell, never removed it, you are all idiots. take the time to read closely.
Apr 29, 2011

lol, read the earlier comments, you will see the original teaser had the egg boiled and the shell removed, I altered the teaser to add the vinegar soaking, thus enabling the entire egg to enter the bottle.
Jul 14, 2011

Not that the people that posted the earlier comments will see this since it was posted years ago, but l liked this teaser. Having done the egg-in-vinegar experiment I completely understand the concept behind it. Perhaps those who don't get it, should try it. Makes perfect sense to me and works well.
BTW I'm not old. l0l
(user deleted)
Aug 04, 2011

The vinegar dissolves the calcium carbonate content of the shell. I imagine this would take quite a long time and, technically, would be destroying part of the egg. But a good teaser!
Oct 10, 2011

This one is as old as the hills. I saw it many years ago so knew the answer. Any new ones anybody?
Oct 10, 2011

This teaser HAS been around a long time - and some people have responded to this one several times THIS YEAR. This is a good teaser, but enough is enough GO Detroit Tigers - and I hope it stops raining in Texas so we can play games #2 in the ALCS!! and HI, friends!
Oct 10, 2011

Great teaser!
Oct 10, 2011

All this time and no one thought to submit a correction? OK, I guess I will.
Oct 10, 2011

AWOR. This is so old, it's about we put that egg somewhere else. A to G&S
Oct 10, 2011

To the comments stating that the answer said to remove the shell -- the answer says to soften the shell by soaking it in vinegar. You do not remove the shell.
Oct 10, 2011

My Mother taught us how to do this with a hardboiled egg more than 50 years ago. We used a quart or gallon glass milk jug. The opening is just slightly smaller than an egg. We would light a piece of newspaper and drop it burning into the bottle then set the egg on top. When the fire has consumed all the oxygen and is extinguished it creates a vaccuum. The egg is then sucked into the bottle with an audible "POP" I used it for a science fair when I was probably 8 or 9 yrs. old.
The original teaser should have just started with a hardboiled egg and avoided all the controversy. I'm guessing that the original poster had never actually done it.
Oct 10, 2011

Another way to get the egg into the bottle without breaking the bottle. Is to heat the neck of the bottle to the point where you can reshape the opening large enough for the egg to fit through.
Oct 10, 2011


That's funny.
Oct 10, 2011

Oldie, but goodie. Just a little too easy. Hi G, Hi K.
Jul 24, 2012

the vacuum must be very doesn't work every time ...i've tried it
Oct 10, 2014

It is an oldie and it does work and read the teaser correctly and stop the arguments. Enough is enough already! Sheesh!
Oct 10, 2014

Oct 10, 2014

In the back of my trivia clogged brain, I remembered something about fire and egg and bottle, but I had forgotten the vinegar part.
Oct 10, 2014

Interesting science project. And wild comments!!
Oct 10, 2014

Will someone please fix this explanation? Its totally wrong! I can't edit the explanation, probably because this is a new account.

Several people commented on the correct explanation way back in 2008, but here is is, 6 years later, and still wrong.

The egg is NOT pulled in because the fire is trying to pull in oxygen.

The air expands when hot, after the fire goes out it contracts creating a local low pressure area which pulls the egg into the bottle.

The "pulling in oxygen" explanation is wrong on so many levels. This touches on diffusion, which would not push the egg back in. Further, O2 is burned to produce CO2, so its not like there is a loss of total gas through the combustion.

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