The sound hose whirly tube is often considered a toy. Sound can be somewhat mysterious, since you can’t see it! But the corrugated singing tube helps teach some serious physics. And it’s a great bonus that physics of sound is music too!
Safety note: Be sure to explain safety precautions to children. This experiment involves whipping a plastic tube around at high speed, make sure to clear the area. Disclaimer: All information provided on this site is for entertainment and education purposes only. Using any information from thecasabouquet.com is at your own risk.
Instructions for sound hose
- Find a clear area for the sound hose whirly tube experiment. You will have your arm fully extended and the length of the tube.
- Look carefully at the sound hose and sketch or describe how it’s made. Are the ridges spiral or separate circles?
- Try blowing directly into the tube. Then hold the tube under your bottom lip and blow into it with your upper lip. What do you observe?
- Hold one end of the tube and practice whirling it above your head. Whirl it at different speeds. How many notes do you hear?
- Fill a large plastic bag with air (you might need to use a hair dryer on cool or a leaf blower). Attach the bag to one end of the sound hose using tape. Does the whirly tube still work when you whirl it around with the air bag attached? How else can you use the bag to make sound?
- Can you find other tubes and make different notes? Try a corrugated straw from a large drink cup, electrical conduit, vacuum hoses.
You can use a frequency meter to measure the sound frequencies you make with the sound tubes.
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What is the science?
Content: sound, sound frequency, harmonics, resonance
The speed of sound in air depends on temperature. The speed of sound and the length of the tube determine the frequency of sound made by the tube. When you whirl the tube, air is pulled into the tube.
- Sounds like fun by Paul Doherty
- Whirly tubes at Telus World of Science
- Frequencies of music notes from Michigan Tech
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