Introduction: (Initial Observation)
The most important part of packaging when either sending a product to a customer or even sending a gift to a friend or relative is to be sure that the item is not damaged. Good packaging often uses excess materials. These materials are usually bulky and very hard to recycle. Packaging designers are always testing and implementing new ideas for packaging to overcome high cost and recycling problems. These designers can either be material engineers, environmental engineers or chemical engineers.
Objective: The goal of this experiment is to understand the basics of engineering associated with the packaging of items to preserve, market, and safely deliver products. The packaging for each type of product varies depending on the fragility of the item being packed. It is important to know about all packaging in all different situations. However, this experiment focuses on packaging for transporting goods (shipping).
Find out about different methods of packaging. Read books, magazines or ask professionals who might know in order to learn about packaging. Keep track of where you got your information from.
What is the Best Packaging for an Egg? You need to ship an egg, which is a very fragile item to a destination. Along with the safe arrival of the egg, you want to create an efficient, environmental friendly package with minimal materials.
When you think you know what variables may be involved, think about ways to change one at a time. If you change more than one at a time, you will not know what variable is causing your observation. Sometimes variables are linked and work together to cause something. At first, try to choose variables that you think act independently of each other.
The best packaging for the egg will probably be the egg surrounded by some soft material to soften the impact of the fall.
To test our hypothesis, we will design a package for our egg and test it.
- First, brainstorm on what will be the best material to use for your packaging.
- Sketch on the piece of paper your design of the package.
- Take your egg and put it into the plastic sandwich bag. This does not support the egg, but only keeps the mess to the minimum.
- Take your egg and materials and construct your design.
- Weigh your total package and note the materials you used inside the package.
- It is now time to test your package. Find a building, preferably your school, where you can be two stories (approximately 30 yards). The surface of the landing of the egg should be concrete. Now drop the egg onto the concrete.
- Retrieve your package and open up to see if your egg survived the impact.
- If it did, think of a way to reduce your materials and still have the same results.
- If the egg did not survive the impact, redesign your package and test again. It is important to know where you went wrong and why your egg did not survive the impact.
- Do several trials of the drop of the package and record the results of each trial.
Materials and Equipment:
- Examples of good packaging (egg carton)
- A sheet paper and a pencil for designing the package.
- One 9 x 12 envelope.
- One plastic sandwich bag.
- One raw egg.
- Assorted materials for packaging: Cardboard, scrap paper, cotton balls, newspaper, masking tape, aluminum foil, Styrofoam peanuts, and bubble wrap.
Results of Experiment (Observation):
Experiments are often done in series. A series of experiments can be done by changing one variable a different amount each time. A series of experiments is made up of separate experimental “runs.” During each run you make a measurement of how much the variable affected the system under study. For each run, a different amount of change in the variable is used. This produces a different amount of response in the system. You measure this response, or record data, in a table for this purpose. This is considered “raw data” since it has not been processed or interpreted yet. When raw data gets processed mathematically, for example, it becomes results.
Summary of Results:
Summarize what happened. This can be in the form of a table of processed numerical data, or graphs. It could also be a written statement of what occurred during experiments.It is from calculations using recorded data that tables and graphs are made. Studying tables and graphs, we can see trends that tell us how different variables cause our observations. Based on these trends, we can draw conclusions about the system under study. These conclusions help us confirm or deny our original hypothesis. Often, mathematical equations can be made from graphs. These equations allow us to predict how a change will affect the system without the need to do additional experiments. Advanced levels of experimental science rely heavily on graphical and mathematical analysis of data. At this level, science becomes even more interesting and powerful.
Using the trends in your experimental data and your experimental observations, try to answer your original questions. Is your hypothesis correct? Now is the time to pull together what happened, and assess the experiments you did.
Sample Conclusion for this project:
While many items that are shipped are not fragile, such as paper documents, effective packaging in terms of minimizing waste is still and important criterion.
Safe shipment of fragile items is critical to business and consumers. The design of effective packages includes structural support and cushioning for the item.
Cost effective packages that are light and easy to manufacture include:
- foam peanuts
- pre-formed Styrofoam molds such as ones in packaging of TVs, radios and other household electronics.
- Small, linked airbags
Packaging ideas that are good for recycling and environmental friendly include:
- shredded newspaper
- popcorn and packing peanuts made out of potato starch
Related Questions & Answers:
What you have learned may allow you to answer other questions. Many questions are related. Several new questions may have occurred to you while doing experiments. You may now be able to understand or verify things that you discovered when gathering information for the project. Questions lead to more questions, which lead to additional hypothesis that need to be tested.
If you did not observe anything different than what happened with your control, the variable you changed may not affect the system you are investigating. If you did not observe a consistent, reproducible trend in your series of experimental runs there may be experimental errors affecting your results. The first thing to check is how you are making your measurements. Is the measurement method questionable or unreliable? Maybe you are reading a scale incorrectly, or maybe the measuring instrument is working erratically.
If you determine that experimental errors are influencing your results, carefully rethink the design of your experiments. Review each step of the procedure to find sources of potential errors. If possible, have a scientist review the procedure with you. Sometimes the designer of an experiment can miss the obvious.
Write a list of References for your report.