Have you ever wondered how much a single Lego can hold up before it's crushed under the weight? Well it can lift a lot more than you, tough guy. The question, first posed on Internet black hole Reddit, is such a simple question, but not a simple one to answer. That's why BBC Radio 4 program More or Less, a show dealing with numbers and statistics, went to Open University's engineering department in search of one.
Now of course, it's not practical to simply stack Lego blocks until the bottom one is destroyed. For all we know (knew), you'd end up in orbit, where'd you float helplessly out into space. Instead, engineers used a hydraulic ram to crush a typical 2x2 Lego brick while a load cell measured the force being exerted. The end result? A 2x2 Lego brick can hold a staggering 950lbs (432kg), or 375,000 bricks.
Any more weight and the brick essentially melts, continuously deforming as more pressure is put on it. And while a tower of 375,000 bricks would theoretically stand 2.17 miles tall, Dr. Ian Johnston shoots the idea down, saying the structure would buckle long before completion. Let's not forget the important question: can I live in a castle made of Legos?