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The Singing Pipe

  • Introduction
  • Video & Results
  • Materials
  • Procedure
  • Preparation & Notes
  • Download Files

In this activity a metal pipe with a metal screen at the bottom is heated with a propane torch (or bunsen burner). When the pipe is removed from the flame and held vertically, turbulent flow of cool air through the screen produces a resonant sound is heard for up to 30 seconds. If the pipe is tilted horizontally the sound disappears but can return if the pipe is returned to vertical before it cools.

None at this time.

Materials

  • Heavy iron pipe with screen from Education Innovations (catalog# HS14). This pipe is heavy industrial pipe, which might possibly be found elsewhere. However the diameter is wider than what was found in the local hardware stores. The pipe has an inner diameter of 1 5/8" and is approximately 19 1/8" long.
  • Bunsen burner or propane blow torch.
  • Orange cones to define a safety boundary around the blow torch or bunsen burner.

Caution: Use caution with the flame. Define a clear boundary outside which students can watch. The bottom of the pipe will get hot.

  1. Light propane torch or bunson burner.
  2. Hold pipe vertically with the screen side down in the flame for 30 seconds.
  3. Remove the pipe from the flame and hold vertically. The pipe will resonate a tone.
  4. Turn the pipe horizontally, and the tone will cease.
  5. If the pipe is returned to the vertical position before it cools, the tone will return.

The website from Education Innovations has an information sheet.

The instruction from Education Innovations. (pdf)