Phenomena

Vibrating on a Subwoofer

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Vibrating a liquid droplet produces some awesome behavior. The video above shows a water droplet vibrating on a subwoofer at real-time speeds. The behavior and shape of the droplet shifts with the frequency of vibration, which we hear as a change in pitch. To see more clearly the shapes a particular frequency induces, check out this high-speed video of vibrating water droplets. For a given driving frequency, the droplet’s shape, or mode, is distinct and consistent. For a droplet vibrating to a song, though, there is more than one frequency driving its motion. In this case, the droplet’s shape is a superposition of the individual modes, which is just a way of saying adding the shapes together. So frequency determines the droplet’s shape. The vibration amplitude, or audible volume, affects how energetic the drop’s motion is. And the fluid’s surface tension and viscosity act as dampers to the system, controlling how quickly the drop can change shape as well as how well it holds together. (Video credit: A. Read)

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