How high could a Lego tower be?

I just won the national lottery! I am a billionaire, and can do whatever I want with my money!

Tv interviewer asks me what would I do with this money. Then, come the Idea.

I remember this guy when I was young, Kevin, if I remember correctly. His parents were rich, way richer than mine. And therefore, he had much more Lego than me. As he was my direct neighbour, he used to play in the garden, or to expose his big towers on her balcony, so I could see that he had more Legos than me.

I still remember him, and want my revenge.

Here is my plan. Kevin lives in a rural area, and there are only fields across the roads. I buy them all. Now, I want to build the highest Lego tower possible, just in front of his house. Money isn't a problem anymore, the sky is the limit.

• I would be ok if the foundation are not in Lego, but otherwise, all the towers must be simple Lego bricks.
• width/length shouldn't be a problem, as I have a big land

How high could my Lego tower be?

• Quora: Just tell us a random number, without showing us the calculations. Bonus point for wondering if we have enough pieces.
• BBC: Base theorical heigh according to pressure/weight until a brick collapse, before telling us it would be impossible

Other articles are similar, based on the weight, but don't include the need of foundations, wind resistance...

• This have been asked/answer elsewhere, but I'm not ok with the answers You will have to explain why not, and what makes your question different. The pressure/weight calculation is a pretty definitive one and works for any material: 1, 2, 3
– user3106
Aug 10, 2018 at 12:38
• Your condition about the foundation not having to be lego is irrelevant. The lego part on top of it will have a maximum height. The foundation will itself also have a maximum height (less than its own maximum height based on its material, because the lego part is on top of it).
– user3106
Aug 10, 2018 at 12:43
• @JanDoggen Not an architect, so I may be wrong, but is pressure/weight really the only factor? aren't there diference between theory and real world, were for example a not-perfectlysymetric tower would collapse if it's 2k3 tall? and about the lego/foundation, i mesure thei heigh of the tower once it's lego, not from the foundation Aug 10, 2018 at 13:04
• @Mike Scott Maybe he plans to build, not a cubical Lego tower, but a tall Lego tower with a square cross section like 432 Park avenue NYC, or a tall pyramidal Lego tower. I think that he could probably build a highly impressive 100 meter Lego tower. Aug 10, 2018 at 14:38
• For people saying that height can be unlimited, there is a limit to how tall a mountain can be. I'm pretty sure for Lego blocks this limit would be less than for typical rock like granite. Aug 10, 2018 at 18:16

10.8km high.

I wrote up a little program (code below) to find the exact break point at which we reach the 4240 Newton limit that was provided as enough to crush a lego block by your BBC article. I picked a pyramid, an extremely stable structure, and one that has a very wide base to properly distribute the weight above it, allowing it to get much taller than a tower. I hope you really do have plenty of land! I am running off of the following assumptions, that or course aren't necessarily true:

1. Your legos are being built on a perfectly flat surface.
2. The legos distribute their weight perfectly

Results

1125001 lego blocks high. 1125001 * 9.6mm ~= 10.8km
You could get this result for a while, bot note that your tower will slowly sink down over time, plastic deformation is bound to happen! You now have the pleasure of owning the biggest lego tower ever, but also the tallest man-made structure ever! Now just to watch it slowly melt...

Code

i = 1
weight = 0
totalLegos = 0
while True:
# Size of new bottom layer
base = i**2
totalLegos += base
# total weight load on the base layer
weight += ((i-1)**2) * .001152 # Weight of lego is 1.152g -> kg
# Too heavy?
if weight/base >= 432:
print("Maximum reached!")
print("{}/{} = {} >= 432".format(weight, base, weight/base))
print("    Levels: {}".format(i))
print("    Total weight: {}".format(weight+base*.001152))
print("    Total legos:  {}".format(totalLegos))
break
else:
print(i)
i += 1


Output

546752187002808.0/1265629500004 = 432.00019200017067 >= 432
Levels: 1125002
Total weight: 546753645007992.0
Total legos:  474612539069437505


Sources:
BBC
Exact lego dimensions

• Welcome to WorldBuilding.SE Skyler! Cool answer. If you have a moment please take the tour and visit the help center to learn more about the site. Have fun! Aug 10, 2018 at 19:16
• Note that this is (by my quick calculation) about 66 times more plastic than exists in the entire world right now. Aug 10, 2018 at 19:39
• @realityChemist very true, But by my rough calculation ((167m)^2/(11250m)^2), its base is over 4500 times as large... So only 133x the amount of pressure on the ground... heh heh... hope he built it on a mile deep concrete foundation... Aug 10, 2018 at 20:24
• You’d need about \$10 quadrillion to buy that much Lego. It’s going to take more than a lottery win. Aug 10, 2018 at 20:25
• @MikeScott Well, sure, if you paid retail price. It would be much, much cheaper to buy the company, along with all of the plastic manufacturing facilities on earth. Aug 10, 2018 at 20:49