Tallest LEGO tower could be 2.17 miles high

Open University boffins calculate how high LEGO bricks could be built.
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Scientists have theorised that a LEGO tower could be built as high as 2.17 miles - higher than Mount Olympus in Greece.

The conundrum originated from a discussion on message board Reddit. After following the Reddit thread, the BBC got involved and asked the Open University’s engineering department for the straight dope.

"It's an exciting thing to do because it's an entirely new question and new questions are always interesting," said Dr Ian Johnston, an applied mathematician and lecturer in engineering.

Johnston and his team sought to answer the problem by finding out how much weight the bottom bricks of a LEGO tower could support.

After applying physics, scientists found that a 2x2 LEGO brick began to warp after having 350 kilograms – or 3,500 Newtons – of force applied to it.

The brick began to melt following 4,000 Newtons of force – resulting in the squished brick below. 

After some maths, it was found that the base 2x2 brick would be able to support 375,000 bricks – the equivalent of 2.17 miles.

BBC journo Ruth Alexandar writes: “The average maximum force the bricks can stand is 4,240N. That's equivalent to a mass of 432kg (950lbs). If you divide that by the mass of a single brick, which is 1.152g, then you get the grand total of bricks a single piece of Lego could support: 375,000.

“So, 375,000 bricks towering 3.5km (2.17 miles) high is what it would take to break a Lego brick.”

[Source: BBC]

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