Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Egg Drop Speed
Name: eric
Status: student
Age: 11
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 1999 

what would happen to a hard boiled egg if it was dropped from the empire state building. how fast would it be going when it hit, and what would happen to the egg its self. would it crack, vaporize?

Hello, The egg would surely crack. It will not vaporize. As for its velocity, please refer to the answers to another related question posed on this site a few months ago (check under terminal velocity). Basically, after a short distance, the drag force (air resistance) and gravity force (pull of the earth) balance each other and the egg will travel at a constant velocity which is known as terminal velocity.

Dr. Ali Khounsary
Advanced Photon Source
Argonne National Laboratory
Argonne, IL 60439

I don't know how tall the Empire State building is. If you know, you can plug the height into the following equation and get the answer for yourself. First, let's see how long it will take the egg to fall that distance.

t = sqrt((2 * x) / a)

't' is the time in seconds it tales the egg to fall.

'a' = 9.8 meters per second per second is the acceleration of gravity, and

'x' is the height in meters

Then, v = a * t is the speed in meters per second when the egg has fallen the distance 'x'. (This formula doesn't work for heights so large that the acceleration of gravity changes as the object falls.)

The egg will crack and flatten itself against the pavement. It will become very wide and thin; pieces will fly around for a while. The egg will not vaporize.

Tim Mooney

Click here to return to the Physics Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory