Chladni Plates and the Generation of Sounds

One of the most striking elements in a workshop which was full of them, was the demonstration of sound generation thought the Chladni plates built, mastered and played by Clive Siviour, Engineering Fellow at Pembroke. A lovely moment of humanities and science dialogue came over the question as to what a Chladni plate is: designed by and named for the German physicist Ernst Chladni (1756-1827), as he repeated the earlier experiments of Robert Hooke in running a bow against a glass plate covered in flour, with results and observations marshalled in his 1787 masterwork  Entdeckungen über die Theorie des Klanges. Or, a plate to allow the effects of vibration to be observed, where regions of a plate vibrate in opposite directions, leaving nodal lines, where no vibration occurs, visible if the plate is covered in a granular substance. Context and applicability!

Clive, had designed and tested his own plate, and we were privileged to see the first trials, and then the results in a practical demonstration in the course of the workshop, as well as to the attendees of the public lectures during the drinks reception. We recorded some of them for posterity, along with the background commentary!: Chladni Demo 1, Chladni Demo 2, Chladni Demo 3 As Clive says in one of the videos, this is a pre-modern technology in action, and very beautiful are the results: we hope you enjoy them.

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