Apparently the internet is alive with the discussion about how many blocks a lego block can support and thus how tall a LEGO tower could actually physically become. I don’t know where the hell they are doing this on the internet but it sounds like it’s a cool place to hang out (edit: just did some more research and found out it was reddit. Completely lame, don’t wanna hang out there, I get trolled enough on Sick Chirpse) because what could be more fun than debating the structural integrity of LEGO huh? I can’t think of anything really, can you?
Anyway, a few interesting theories and claims have emerged out of this debate but I didn’t have time to read them so instead I just called up the Open University and asked them if they could solve this problem for me. They were only too happy to help as they described it as a new question that had never been asked before and were obviously really excited about the prospect of some unprecedented research. The research was led by Dr Ian Johnston who is an applied mathematician and lecturer in engineering and therefore obviously an absolute lad.
To figure it out, they got one LEGO 2X2 block and put it on a hydraulic testing machine. I don’t really know what that is and unfrotunately there isn’t a video of it (that I can find) but I think they just put the LEGO block on a metallic place and then made a huge ram exert more and more force against it to see how much it could take before it exploded or whatever. Apparently Dr. Ian Johnston was yelling ‘take it’ to the block all the way through the experiment. Told you he was a lad.
â˜› More: LEGO Style Appartment
Unfortunately, the LEGO block didn’t exactly explode following its failure, it just kind of melted like some little girl’s heart when she first met Dr. Ian Johnston. Impressively though the LEGO block actually took ages to reach this point and was able to support a massive 4240N of force which is around 432Kg i.e. almost half a metric ton (I don’t know the difference between a metric ton and a tonne, sorry about that). But yeah, that’s ONE LEGO block we’re talking about folks. Pretty powerful huh?
So, based on the results of that experiment (don’t worry they did it a bunch of times to make sure, do you think Dr Ian Johnston is dumb or something?) one LEGO block could support 375,000 more blocks of LEGO. So I guess the biggest LEGO tower would be 375,000 LEGO blocks tall which is equal to 3591m. To put that in perspective it’s taller than the Eiffel Tower, the highest mountain in Spain and taller than the legendary Mount Olympus. That’s pretty big.
Currently there isn’t actually a world record LEGO tower but the one I used in the picture above is 32.5m and was built in Prague and is thought to be a contender. It seems that a 3.5 click LEGO tower is only a pipe dream though and will never actually be realised, which is a bit of a bummer. Dr. Ian Johnston explains that the experiment was very controlled and that they were very careful to spread the force applied to the block evenly over all 4 walls and that this would be hard to replicate in reality and that the tower would lose its structural integrity long before it reached 3.5K in the air. Man, and I thought he was such a lad too. Back to the drawing board I guess.
Here are a couple of pictures of LEGO towers for you to enjoy because I know you probably read this whole post just expecting to see loads of cool pictures of LEGO towers
â˜› More: The LEGO Wire