School of Physics Lecture Demonstration Manual

Wb-4 The Chladni-Vibrating Plate

Published: Tuesday 14 March 2006 - Updated: Wednesday 30 March 2011


To demonstrate the Chladni figures i.e. the vibration modes of thin plates



Click on pictures to enlarge.

Chladni Plate Diagram


The plate is firmly clamped to a suitable surface (trolley ) and a quantity of salt is sprinkled over the plate, making sure it covers the whole plate. The violin bow or other suitable instrument is then applied to the plate. With a little practice several modes of vibration can be achieved. Practice is required to obtain suitable figures from the bowed Chladni and it is recommended that only a small quantity of salt be used to ensure sharp, distinct nodal patterns. There is also available a bow constructed from stout fishing line and a hacksaw frame which is more robust and can better withstand any mistreatment.

Safety notes

Electrical safety 


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