Reubens Tube: Fire Sound Visualization

[vbrtrmn] sent in the most fun I’ve seen with fire lately. It’s really just a geeky physics demonstration, but it’s awesome. That’s a foil lined pvc pipe with holes every half inch. Propane is feeding from one side and there’s a 2″ speaker on the opposite end. You can visit the link for the video, or just see it after the break.

Remember: PVC won’t handle that sort of heat for long, and it’ll emit some nasty fumes. In fact, don’t try to make your own unless you can draw the propane molecule without using google.

Rubens Tube – video powered by Metacafe

24 thoughts on “Reubens Tube: Fire Sound Visualization

  1. Oh my god no don’t use PVC; why the hell would anyone do that? Who even told you this is PVC? it’s not. It’s most probably piece of galvanized stovepipe just like any cheap ruben’s tube (the stuff is even cheaper than PVC and as a bonus you don’t have to inhale burning plastic). The trick with stovepipe is that it has a seam so you have to caulk it with high-temperature caulk. Look for fireplace/firebox caulking.

    You also want to choose a speaker with as little rubber and paper as possible; So long as it doesnt have a perforation in the cone any cheap speaker shoudl be fine for short runs; however for prolonged use you should opt for a speaker with a metal diaphram and dust cap (cone) and silicone surrounds. If you don’t want to dump a ton on a speaker that will likely meet its end by fire, you might consider making one yourself by starting with a cheap paper-cone speaker. The quality of the speaker is relatively unimportant for this project.

    I built a super cheap one that fits in my fireplace: I didnt use a nice speaker though; the cone can take the heat but the foam surrounds have melted a couple of times causing the speaker to incenerate. It’s a rather cool failure but anyone attempting this build should try to avoid it.

  2. Neat! This is completely different from the “flame speaker”, where ions in the flame are attracted to charged wires, making the flame vibrate according to the signal.

    It’s a treble-only device, but listening to the news on a propane torch will get a classroom full of science students paying attention, guaranteed!

  3. My physics teacher did this with a copper tube, and a a funnel on one end with a latex glove stretched over it. This provides a bigger “drum head” and also a stop for the propane. You can then also put a bigger speaker on it and use all the extra power of it.

  4. he has used Pvc pipe, 2″ diameter then he has covered the holes with silver reflective tape (possible some kind of adhesive tin)

    I so want one of these for my next party, a wikid physcial visulisation for the music, the only thing better would be if you could use a laser to project the wave form of the music onto the wall

  5. that’s pretty sweet… I would love to see that kinda thing at a heavy metal bar or something, lining the areas just out of reach on the walls. Maybe in the colder monthes of the year as it might make things a bit warm after a while.

  6. A much safer solution would be to use metal gaspipe that is cheap, and much more resistant to heat. With the added benefit that you can, you know, actually leave it running.

    For the best effect, I have found that putting the holes a little farther apart so that individual flames instead of a single line of flames works the best. It does like to flame out every once in a while, so I put a pilot light on the one side (put a T in the gasline before the speaker, and let it constantly burn) so that it would re-light if it happens to go out on a particularly heavy-hit from the bass.

  7. Wow that looks awesome, If I had a propane tank and pvc tube I would sooo do that. My friend is in physics over the summer. I’m going to show him this and see if he can get his teacher to do this. I’ll ask if we can do this for a lab for when I’m in physics.

  8. Would stove pipe be rigid enough? copper or black steel would be better choices. Mixing air with the propane before it enters the tube should make nicer flames that resist blowing out. Any way now there is a far out use fore those tiny speakers at the surplus sites. In the event smaller diameter pipe(lighter to handle less expensive) would give the same results.

  9. im a physics major at Bethel U, and we have one of these things we use for gen. physics demonstrations of waves… its made of some kind of metal pipe about 6″ diameter with holes (about 1 mm across or so) every centimeter or so. its pretty cool, but nothing new… i wouldnt do it with pvc, it just sounds like a really bad idea

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