Music, Fire, and Physics: A Classical Experiment

During his free time over Christmas Break, Daniel Soby (’19) decided to do some research on vibration and oscillations in nature. Soon, his fascination with the way certain materials and elements react to vibration turned into a theory that another liquid material (propane) would act similarly and led him to design and build his own Ruben’s Tube.

The Rubens’ Tube is a classical physics experiment used to visually demonstrate standing sound waves.  The tube consists of a row of holes drilled into the top of the tube.  One end of the tube is sealed and the other end contains a speaker.  The tube is filled with gas and lit across the row of holes.  The flames “dance” along the tube to the sound of the music.  When a resonant frequency is reached a standing wave forms in the tube and the flames form a typical sine wave.

Daniel gathered metal, drills, and gas valves and went up to his grandfather’s workshop in the mountains to build his own version of the tube. Thankfully, he brought the finished product back to Valor to amaze his teachers and classmates. Take a look (and listen)!

Daniel sad, “After I built it and got the desired results I realized that music=vibrations, so what better way to merge physics and music than with a Ruben’s Tube? So I hooked up my phone to an amplifier and speaker on the side of the tube, and it looks absolutely mesmerizing.”

We agree, Daniel! Well done on this mesmerizing creation of art and science.