How To Make a Ruben’s Tube

What is a Ruben’s tube

A Ruben’s Tube is Physics apparatus to demonstrate the pressure waves formed by sound while travelling in a gaseous medium.

Rubens Tube Diagram

It consists of a pipe sealed at both ends and having linearly placed perforations on its upper surface. At one end is a gas inlet to fill the tube with a flammable gas and near the other end a loudspeaker is placed to generate sound. Now when the gas ensuing from the holes is lighted flames will go up from the tube with their heights varying according to the intensity of the sound played.

Rubens Tube Construction

This can be a good idea for your next science project as the supplies required for making a Ruben’s tube are not hard to get. The procedure itself is pretty simple as well. Given below are the steps to follow:

Things you will need

  • Steel or aluminium tubing open at both ends of 2m length and radius 5 cm
  • Gas burner
  • Loudspeaker
  • Frequency generator
  • Rubber membrane
  • Rubber stopper
  • Drilling machine
  • Lighter
  • 3 stands

DIY Instructions

  1. Leaving 10 cm space on either side of the tube, circular holes of 2 mm diameter are drilled into it at equal intervals. Care should be taken to drill the holes closely, say about 15 cm apart from each other, and along the same straight line on the upper surface of the tube.
  1. The rubber membrane is used to seal one end ensuring that there are no air gaps for the gas to leak. The other end is closed by a rubber stopper which fits exactly. Before inserting the stopper, a hole is made in it such that the end of the gas burner’s pipe fits into it tightly.
  1. The tube is placed on the table on three stands having its perforated surface facing upwards towards the ceiling.
  1. The gas is turned on and allowed to fill the tube. After sometime, the lighter is used above the holes to light the gas. At this point, all the flames should be of equal height. Otherwise, the apparatus should be checked for air-tightness.
  1. A loudspeaker connected to a frequency or signal generator is placed close to the rubber membrane and its frequency is adjusted to watch the variations in the flame heights.
Rubens Tube

The device provides a wonderful visualization of the propagation of sound waves but it needs to be handled with utmost care to avoid any mishap.


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