Home Experiment: The Unbreakable Box

You will need

  • One empty match box

What to do

  1. Place the outside box of the match box upright on a table.
  2. Put the inner box upright on top of the outside box.
  3. Try to smash the construction from the top using your fist. What happens?
  4. Now, place only the inner box of the match box upright on a table.
  5. Try to smash the inner box with your fist. What happens now?

Background

When hitting only the inner box, it will smash. However, if inner and outer box are placed on top of each other, they do not smash, but fly off undamaged in a high curve.

The reason is that the inner box can divert pressure to the outer box when both are placed on top of each other. The boxes fly off because their edges are not rigid, but flexible. The elastic energy from the edges is transferred to kinetic energy.

If one box is placed by itself, pressure cannot be diverted and the box is smashed.

You can watch a video for this experiment here:

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