Inside Scoop

DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME!

Max meets Dr Ian Johnston, the Brick Crusher!
There’s a question that engineers, science geeks and LEGO fans with a lot of time on their hands have been debating for some time:

How tall can a tower of LEGO bricks be before the weight of all that plastic breaks the bottom brick?
Dr Ian Johnston of the Open University in the UK decided that we should know for sure. He placed a 2x2 brick on a high-spec hydraulic press to imitate the weight of the tower, put on protective goggles, stood at a safe distance and went for it!

Eventually the brick ‘failed’, not with a bang but with a squish! The plastic melted!

More stunning was the weight that the brick had carried before it turned to mush – a force of 4,240 Newton or a mass of 950lbs!

That’s a tower of 375,000 2x2 LEGO bricks standing over two miles tall!

MAX FACT

The tallest LEGO tower ever built measured 106’ 7” and was constructed in Prague, Czech Republic on September 5th-9th 2012. The World Record has changed hands eight times since 2010!
This was all very cool so we sent Max to Scotland to meet the man now known as ‘CRUSHER’!

Thanks for talking to us Dr Ian Johnston...How are you?

I'm very well, thanks.

What do I call you? Doctor? Ian? Dr Johnston?

Well, bearing in mind that I'm known for crushing LEGO, and that you're made of LEGO, I think “Sir” will do for a start, don't you?

[Max laughs!] Why don’t you introduce yourself and tell us what you do? Sir?

I'm an engineering lecturer at the OU which means I help write and present courses in engineering and technology. I do quite a bit of TV & radio work too as an advisor. Oh all right, you can drop the “Sir” now. “Dr Ian” will do just fine.