Awesome Cymantics Experiment!

Saturday, June 8, 2013 0 Comments:

"If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration."

-Nikola Tesla 

Cymatics can be best described as making sound visible

By using sound waves to excite liquids & solids Cymatics reveal a beautiful symmetry through this interaction. Strange & alien looking patterns emerge evolve and transform, constantly shifting between states of order and chaos.

The science behind Cymatics

When a surface is subject to vibration it distorts in a non-uniform way with areas of greater or lesser distortion.

Imagine attaching a stick to the centre of a large floppy piece of card. Now holding the stick in your hand with the card on top, move the stick directly up and down. The card begins to flex or distort loosing it's flat appearance. The energy from the movement of the stick radiates outwards from the centre of the card where the stick is attached

The Chladni Plate

Now repeat this same experiment, this time swapping the piece of card for a rigid metal sheet and a metal rod in place of the stick. Rather than moving the rod up and down by hand we attach it to a device which can vibrate many hundreds or even thousands of times a second. Because the vibration is so fast the distance the rod and plate move up and down is almost imperceptible and so any distortion is harder to see. If we could amplify the distortion that's occurring on the surface of the plate, we might see something like this


The red and green areas represent the greatest distortion to the surface of the plate and in between these two areas, where virtually no movement is happening we get 'nodal lines' a phrase coined by the scientist Michael Faraday. 

When sand is sprinkled onto the plate to reveal these distortions it gets displaced by the peaks and troughs which push the sand out of the way, causing it to settle along Faradays nodal lines. The image you see on a Chladni plate is in fact a negative of the wave shape moving through the plate as the sand is gathering where the wave is absent, revealing these beautiful patterns :

Liquid Cymatics

With liquid Cymatics this same phenomena causes the surface of the liquid to displace but instead of sand being used to reveal these peaks and troughs, a light source shining onto the liquid causes a highlight to be reflected back where the peak of a wave occurs and no light to be reflected where there is a trough, creating a web-like image of light trails. Increasing the frequency [pitch] of the vibration creates finer distortions of the liquid surface.

Demonstrationin action Thanks for reading :)


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