Hooked on Science: You can make a metal pipe sing

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Can you make a pipe sing? Sure. All you need are a few items from around the house.


* Metal pipe (1 inch in diameter and 12 inches in length)

* Mesh screen

* Propane torch

* Heat-resistant gloves


* STEP 1: Cut the mesh screen so it fits snug inside the metal pipe. Push the mesh screen a few inches into the metal pipe.

* STEP 2: Ignite the propane torch. Hold either of the open ends of the metal pipe a few inches above the flame until you hear a tone.


The flame from the propane torch heats the air inside the metal pipe. As the air is heated, it expands and rises. The warm air traveling through the pipe creates a standing wave. The motion of the air caused by the standing wave produces the tone.

Jason Lindsey is a science outreach educator with Hooked on Science. Check out his website www.hookedonscience.org for webcasts and experiments that might get you hooked on science. Send him your science questions at jlindseyhookedonscience.com. More science experiments can be found at www.semissourian.com.

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