The BBC’s More or Less programme recently commissioned the Open University to carry out load testing of Lego bricks (reported here).

The testing was carried to determine the theoretical maximum height a Lego tower could be built; 3.5km according to the engineers at the Open University. So why does the current world record ‘only’ stand at 32.5m? Well because of something called tolerances and buckling.

For those interested in more numbers, the results from the testing relates to Lego achieving a crushing stress of just over 16N/mm2…similar to that of the softwood timber we use in construction. Having said that the Lego brick is 8x lighter than the equivalent timber brick but the timber still wins hands-down because it doesn’t need fossil fuels to produce it.

So will Lego be able to match timber to reach the heady heights of 90m, similar to the giant Sequoias of North America? Have a look at National Geographic this month to see some inspiring pictures of what a 3200 year old Sequoia looks like (weblink here).

Images courtesy of BBC and National Geographic