25 November 2017

567. The wood log problem

Easy Medium Hard Extreme

In a factory are 5 machines with each machine producing 5 pieces of compressed wood logs. The weight of each wood log is 500 grams.

However, one of the 5 machines is faulty and produces 5 logs with weight slightly more than 500 grams for each log. You do not know which machine is faulty and also not by how much.

Available in the factory is a digital single-tray scale. (not a two-tray balance scale) You are allowed to weigh as many logs as you wish at a time, but may use the scale only twice. How can you find the faulty machine?

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Place one log from each machine on the scale and weigh. Let's assume your answer is 2 510 grams. You now know the faulty machine produces 10 grams more for each log. (2 510 grams - 2 500 grams) But you still don't know which machine is faulty...

Place the logs on the scale as shown above. The total weight is supposed to be 7 500 grams. (15 logs X 500 grams) Let's assume your answer is 7 530 grams which means there are 30 grams more than expected. (7 530 grams - 7 500 grams) Your faulty machine would therefore be machine 3. (30 grams / 10 grams) If machine 1 was faulty the weight would have been 7 510 grams, machine 2 would be 7 520 grams etc.

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