Whistling Whirly Tubes


whirly tube

  • Hold handle-side of tube securely and twirl around rapidly in a circle. Tube makes a whistling sound that can be heard long distances, resulting from standing pressure waves that set up in the tube. Pitch of whistle depends on twirling speed, however, because only standing waves produce a whistle, the pitch of the whistle goes from one octave to the next in discrete jumps. See: sound pipe document for further explanation.
  • Can also use tube to demonstrate Bernoulli’s principle. Pressure difference between tube ends results from faster motion of outer end. Pressure differential produces air flow through tube. Stationary end of tube (handle end) acts as a vacuum and will suck up small pieces of paper when outer end is twirling.
  • Located in L02, section C2.