Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Smoking Duck

I am always amazed at the number of engineering problems that remain to be solved. What starts off as a very simple idea is complicated by a set of situations that make the original idea almost impossible to implement. It's only though the incremental steps taken by scientists and researchers each day that we can hope to solve such important problems.

The last few weeks one problem in particular has struck me: The proper flotation of a rubber duck. Evidently, getting a duck to float as designed is a difficult task.

Consider the following
My son has three rubber ducks for his bath time fun. Two of them float on their side with the head partially (or completely) submerged.

There are two possible explanations:
1) These companies designed and mass produced a rubber duck without testing whether it would float properly
2) A complicated set of design problems prevent rubber ducks from floating properly without losing other functions.

The third duck does floats correctly; however, there is no hole on the bottom for squeaking. Obviously, this was a design decision to promote proper flotation.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Kev,

I think they just want them to be cute. If it was a weird looking duck, no one would buy their product. Also, the little ducks spend most of their time on the edge of the tub, which shows off their cuteness... :-) LYM.

Your mom

6:35 AM  

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