Collin’s Lab: DIY Cymatics

Sound can have some amazing effects on liquids and some downright bizarre effects on non-Newtonian fluids such as the conveniently simple mixture of cornstarch and water. I’d experimented a bit with cornstarch cymatics in the past, but never quite matched the writhing results I’d seen from others. Now, after bringing my own small puddle of goop to “life,” I feel pretty much satisfied.

Here are some additional pics from the session:

12 thoughts on “Collin’s Lab: DIY Cymatics

  1. nice experiment. I wonder what you happen if you used a cookie tray of corn starch and water mixture, then used one of those directional speakers on it. Could you move the “cymatic monster” around on the tray by moving the speaker? Just a thought.
    PS> Nice lighting on the video also.

    1. Thanks – that’s an interesting question. I don’t have any directional speakers handy but might be able to try something similar with piezos …

      My guess is it would have to be an unusually powerful speaker if it was to sufficiently excite the fluid without making physical contact – tho sliding piezo sounders around below may have interesting results

  2. That’s really cool. I’ve never heard the term cymatics, but I’ve always liked Chladni plates. At one point that corn starch + water looked very Fantasia-like, with little guys jumping out of an amorphous lump! I also like seeing the patterns on the water. Makes me think about music and its physical effect on water-based humans.

  3. I was thinking more on this idea of the directional speakers… It probably wouldn’t work. It would be no different than just holding a regular speaker over the “fluid”. Then I thought of those old football games – the ones that would move when the field vibrated (is my age showing?). Pointing a speaker at the little football guys probably wouldn’t make them move. Its been fun thinking abt it though.

  4. I was wondering which camera did you use to make this video.. i have a videocast project in the works and the look of this is fantastic! :)

  5. That was really fun to watch, i wonder how this would react to other kind of saw waves, esp a Sawtooth or a Pulse one :)

  6. I tried it without removing the center of the speaker first. What does that do? I couldn’t get any motion until about 230-240Hz, and that was minimal. I don’t think the speaker was powerful enough, but the amp I used was 25 watts.

  7. Removing the center + some paper from the cone allows you to connect a dish/plate directly to the speakers driver/coil – in other words, STRONG SHAKES! =]

  8. Great video! What kind of amp did you use? Is there a specific wattage that works best? Thanks.

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