Photo Credit: BBC
So at this time of year thoughts turn to Christmas and often to presents, lists will be crafted and manufacturers will bombard parents and children alike with what the latest ‘must have’ items are. However is there anything better that a box of Lego? surely the most infinitely creative but brilliantly simple ‘toy’ that’s ever been created. In general when I think back to my childhood lego is a constant perhaps only equalled or surpassed by a football, bike and a table tennis table. Lego has an instantly fascinating quality bringing out the architect in all of us and anyone who has kids will be instantly transported back to their own childhood as they watch their own kids start out on that voyage of architectural discovery. The Lego bricks, which followed on from play bricks, do at some point though raise one simple question – how high can I go. This is the same with stacks of cards or pretty much anything else we can place onto of something else. Perhaps this is why there has been such a rush to the sky with building developments – it’s got nothing to do with space and everything to do with this childlike fantasy – how high can you go.
Well when it comes to Lego the boffins have been at work and calculated the theoretical answer to that question by testing the load bearing capacity of a Lego brick which comes out at a quite incredible average force of 4,240 Newtons. 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.
Photo Credit: BBC
So if you are thinking of buying your little ones some Lego for Christmas then you best buy a big bag if they want to test out this theory ! Theory is of course one thing, reality is another but apparently Lego building is a fiercely competitive business with one of the tallest towers built so far the one at the top of the page in Prague at 32.5 metres – a long way short of the theoretical maximum. I was fascinated by this whole tower building business but not as much as when I found out that there are certified Lego builders – now that is a job I fancy. Unfortunately there are only 13 in the world and only 1 in Britain a guy called Duncan Titmarsh who surely has one of the worlds most enviable jobs. Now where’s my old box of Lego ?