How Strong Is A Single Lego? (And Why Does Stepping On One Hurt So Much?)
Most of the time, Legos are pretty great. They spark kids' interest in engineering, and are surprisingly fun for full-grown adults. That is, until you're walking through a messy playroom and find yourself screaming because you stepped on a single tiny toy brick. So what's going on? You can thank science for that piercing pain.
Brick by Brick
Why does stepping on a LEGO hurt so badly? Let's start with the tiny brick itself. Legos are built to hold a lot of weight, so they don't break under the pressure of a sky-high Lego tower. (Or a 64,500-Lego Golden Gate bridge.) In fact, according to Fatherly editorial director Micah Abrams, "a single Lego can bear up to 4,240 Newtons of force, or weights in excess of 953 pounds, before it starts to deform."
Now let's think about the bottom of your foot: It's an extremely sensitive area. We're talking 100-200,000 exteroceptors. "Those are nerve endings that gather feedback from the outside world — things like the lush softness of freshly cut grass or the excruciating pain of a sharp-edged, 2.25 square-centimeter plastic brick — and ports it straight to your brain," writes Fatherly editorial director Micah Abrams on Yahoo. "A 165-pound person standing on a single Lego will put those 100-200,000 exteroceptors under 3,262,222 pascals of pressure, or 32 times what they're under when you're relaxing on the couch."
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