Can you see sound?

Can we see sound? Check out our newest tesla coils then join us for a simple experiment to see sound at home!

In the Lightning Room, we have two singing Tesla coils that you can view in our new show, Lights, Energy, Action!

They simulate lightning by creating a big spark of electricity, but instead of hearing a rumbling thunder, we can actually use the sound of the lightning to play a song!

For you own “seeing sound” experiment you’ll need some cling wrap, a bowl, an elastic band or tape and hundreds and thousands, sugar or salt.

  1. Take a piece of cling wrap, and stretch it over the bowl. Make sure it’s nice and tight. Use an elastic band or some tape to make sure it’s secure.
  2. Add your sprinkles on top of the cling wrap. Put your finger gently in the middle of the cling wrap to stop them going everywhere as you put them on the surface.
  3. Move your mouth near to the bowl and hum. Can you see anything?
  4. Try humming deeper, or higher pitched, louder, and softer. Can you make your sprinkles dance?

Keep experimenting: try testing it out with different sized and shaped materials, or even try putting the bowl in front of a speaker or musical instrument!

Sound waves are created through a movement called vibration – something moving backwards and forwards. When molecules of air vibrate, they bump into other nearby air molecules, passing the vibration through the air to our ears, which we detect as sound.

With our singing tesla coils, the vibration is caused by the air heating up from the lightning. With your at-home experiment, the vibrations you’re making with your voice are moving through the air and making the cling wrap vibrate, and the sprinkles jump around!

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