Seeing Sound

“So this experiment is the Chladni plate experiment. I used a tone generator, a wave driver (speaker) and a metal plate attached to the speaker. First add sand to the plate then begin playing a tone. Certain frequencies vibrate the metal plate in such a way that it creates areas where there is no vibration. The sand “falls” into those areas, creating beautiful geometric patterns. As the frequency increases in pitch the patterns become more complex.” – brusspup

This is the full unedited version of the Chladni plate experiment. It also contains the tone throughout the entire video:

Amazing. The symmetry. And that frequencies which are very close can produce very different designs.

4 thoughts on “Seeing Sound

  1. Anonymous

    This is so cool, knowing what the name of the phenomenon is! But amazingly, the woman painter I’m (endlessly) writing about, had visions to music, which she then made the subjects of her paintings. In describing to Alfred Stieglitz around 1907 how the visions to music originated, she said “Sand makes patterns by vibrations on a drum….” !!!!!! She knew way back then!


  2. Anonymous

    So Chladni knew about this in the later 1700s and early 1800s. My woman went to Pratt so may have learned about it there in science classes?


    1. Bix Post author

      If she had, those were pretty good science classes. This is the first I’ve heard of it! Or maybe I just forgot … lol.


  3. Bix Post author

    Sound waves are mechanical, mechanically generated. They’re not electromagnetic waves … light, microwaves, x-rays, etc. Still, I can’t see either of these. I can’t see a sound wave passing in front of me, or a light wave. I can, however, see (or hear) their effects. Well, some of them (my hearing isn’t what it used to be!) … I wonder what effects sound waves have on the body, apart from hearing them.

    Sounds you can’t hear can still hurt your ears, Science 2014
    Exposure to inaudible low-frequency pitches changes the functioning of the inner ear

    But I mean, can sound waves affect cells distant from the ear? They are a vibration … possibly they can?



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