This version (2016/04/18 00:00) was approved by svrijn.

Light Energy

Description of the Experiment

Palm Pipes

This was inspired to me by Brian Jones from Colorado State University, Fort Collins Colorado. You should Google Little Hops of Physics to see the great outreach work Brian Jones does.

Pipe: 25mm diameter plastic electrical conduit pipe. 20mm diameter pipe will also work. Purchase at a building materials store or an electrical supply store.

You can cut the pipe with a saw, (hacksaw). A mitre box may be useful to be sure you cut the pipe straight.

Colored Tape: I found the tape at a stationary store in Lund in 2002. Violet and orange are hard colors to find. You can use strips of colored paper and clear tape instead of the color tape. Notice how the colors relate to the wavelengths of light. Red is a longer wavelength than orange, which is longer than yellow, and so on. That is why it is nice to use these colors.

Palm Pipe Lengths

White: 328mm C Red: 290mm D Orange: 258mm E Yellow: 243mm F Green: 216mm G Blue: 193mm A Violet: 170mm B Black: 159mm C

The pipes are played by holding the pipe with one hand and hitting the end of the pipe with the other. The pitch will be dependent on the length of the pipe.

Pass out the pipes to your audience and you can have them play Mozart. I have attached the notes of a song you can use to have the audience play.

A second related demonstration is done by making a plastic straw into a reed style instrument.

Straws and Scissors: Plastic straws: stores or restaurants. Scissors: Your desk drawer.

Flatten one end of the straw with your teeth and then make cuts on that end so it forms an arrow point. Blowing through the straw makes the sound that is similar to the sound you get from a reed instrument. Cutting the actual length of the straw will change the pitch. (You can play with the length of the arrow until you get the sound.) Practice makes perfect…

Safety Information

None Worth mentioning

Equipment and materials


experiments/light_energy.txt · Last modified: 2013/04/04 00:00 (external edit)
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