Ruben’s Tube – A Visual Sound Wave

    Ruben’s Tube

My son is taking physics this year, and we came across these neat video demonstrations of the Ruben’s Tube, also known as the Standing Wave Flame Tube. The first Rubens tube was created in 1904 by German physicist Heinrich Rubens. Rubens drilled 200 small holes at 2 centimeter intervals into a 4-meter-long tube and filled it with a flammable gas. After lighting the gas, he noted that a sound produced at one end of the tube created a standing wave the same wavelength as the sound being made.

Seeing we couldn’t do this experiment ourselves safely at home, these videos were the next best thing. Enjoy!

Here is one from Flash Forward (video length: 2:48):

And here is one from Mythbusters (video length: 1:57):


  1. Tom says:

    Awe….We could do this….I’m sure we could improvise…put something together…. It would be exciting! (I’m sure of that)

  2. Barrie says:

    Gee Ray, I bet we could set up the Ruben’s tube with some Big Daddy Weave and see Praise music in a way we just didn’t think of it before. Course, it should be an outside venue and having it at night would be really cool.

  3. Ray Fowler says:

    Tom – If you build one of these, I want to be there when you fire it up!

    Barrie – Cool idea! I always wondered what praise music looks like!

  4. Kyle says:

    Building one of these (that works well) is trickier than it looks! I recommend doing what he does in having holes space 1/2 inch apart and having them about 1/16th inch in diameter. But if you want one to have the good sine curve that his has, make sure it is long (over 6 feet) and skinny (like 2″-3″ in diameter)

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