Rubens Tube

Rubens Tube

A Rubens tube, also known as a standing wave flame tube, is a physics apparatus for demonstrating acoustic standing waves in a tube. Invented by the German physicist Heinrich Rubens in 1905, it graphically shows the relationship between sound waves and sound pressure, and acts as a primitive oscilloscope. Today, it is typically used for demonstrations in physics education. Here a music speaker was attached to one end of the tube. Ideally, when used neat little jets of flame are formed, along the length of the tube’s top, with the varying height of each flame corresponding to its position along the standing wave that has formed in the tube. That didn’t happen here. The wind was so strong that day that the flames were all blown about and then very soon out. Demonstrations frequently fail, and this one produced by the Science Center was no different.

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