Let’s do an egg shell squeeze science experiment today!
Have you ever thought about how strong an egg shell is? Most of the time we think of eggs as being fragile and breakable. Let’s take a little deeper look at which is right…is an egg shell fragile or is it strong?
Egg Shell Science Experiment
About Egg Shells
The function of the eggshell is to protect the embryo from the environment, but it cannot be too strong otherwise the chick would not be able to break out and hatch. It is made of calcium carbonate, an important biomineral, which is different from hydroxyapatite, the mineral component of bone.
That means an egg shell needs to be really strong to protect the future hatching chick, but not too strong that the chick cannot get out of the shell.
One of the ways that this is possible is through the egg shell science that we are about to explore…
Knowing how easy an egg cracks, it makes sense to think they are fragile. But they are extremely strong – so strong that you can squeeze an egg in these simple experiments and never break it’s shell.
We recommend doing this set of kitchen science food experiments in the backyard or over the kitchen sink!
Egg Shell Strength Squeeze Test #1
First, place an egg in the palm of your hand. Close your hand so that your fingers are completely wrapped around the egg. Squeeze the egg by applying even pressure all around the shell. I was nervous to try this and stood over my kitchen sink. You can too. Did the shell break?
No. Amazing, right?
Egg Shell Strength Squeeze Test #2
Try another way – Hold the egg between your thumb and forefinger and squeeze the top and bottom of the egg. Did it break when you squeezed it this way?
Egg Shell Strength Squeeze Test #3
Finally, hold the egg in the palm of your hand. Press only on one side of the shell. Do not squeeze the egg – just press on the side.
What happens? Why do you think this happens?
Science Behind Egg Shell Strength
The Strong Shell: The egg’s unique shape gives it tremendous strength, despite its fragility. Think of an egg as a 3-dimensional arch. The egg is strongest at the top and the bottom. That’s why the egg doesn’t break when you add pressure to both ends like in our 2nd science experiment.
When you hold the egg in your hand and squeeze, you are distributing pressure all over the egg like in the first science experiment. The curved shell can distribute this pressure rather than concentrating it all on one area. When an egg is cracked on the side of a bowl, it breaks as the pressure is concentrated on one side.
This also explains how a hen can sit on an egg and not break it, but a tiny little chick can break through the eggshell – the weight of the hen is evenly distributed over the egg, while the pecking of the chick is an uneven force directed at just one spot on the egg.
More Science Fun from Kids Activities Blog
This egg shell squeeze experiment is amazing. We have more food science ideas for your child to explore. For more kids activities like these, please take a look at some of these ideas:
- A really good next science experiment for kids to follow this egg shell strength test would be our egg in vinegar experiment which lets kids see egg shells in a whole new way!
- More food science learning with our rotten pumpkin experiment…this is creepy fun!
- Another fun science experiments using eggs is can you tell a raw egg vs cooked egg without breaking the egg shell?
- Have you ever wondered can you hatch store bought eggs?
- Did you know you could scramble an egg inside the shell?
- You can make the traditional egg yolk paint with this simple recipe just like the masters used to!
- Need the best egg drop design for the science fair? We have good solid egg drop ideas.
- Have you ever wondered about a cashew shell? Why aren’t they sold inside the shells?
What do you think now? Is an egg shell strong or fragile? What happened in your egg squeeze experiment?