3D30.50 - Ruben's Tube

Code Number:
Demo Title:
Ruben's Tube
Resonance in Pipes, Standing Waves in a Tube
Area of Study:
Ruben's Tube, Wave Generator, and Grill Lighter.

Connect the Ruben's tube to the gas supply and light along the outlet holes when the gas is turned on.  Adjust the gas flow so that the flames are about 1/2 inch high.  Turn on the wave generator and adjust the frequency to the resonant frequencies of the tube (these are written on the tube itself).  Up to 8 wavelengths can be easily seen.

  • James Lincoln, "The Lincoln's Tube: A New Apparatus for Demonstrating Sound Standing Waves", TPT, Vol. 58, #1, Jan. 2020, p. 74.
  • Cameron T. Vongsawad, Mark L. Berardi, Tracianne B. Neilsen, Kent L. Gee, Jennifer K. Whiting, and M. Jeannette Lawler, "Acoustics for the Deaf: Can You See Me Now?", TPT, Vol. 54, #6, Sept. 2016, p. 369.
  • George W. Ficken and Francis C. Stephenson, "Rubens Flame-Tube Demonstration", TPT, Vol. 17, #5, May 1979, p. 306.
  • Robert P. Bauman and Dennis Moore, "More on Dancing Flames", TPT, Vol. 15, #7, Oct. 1977, p. 389, 448.
  • Thomas D. Rossing, "Average Pressure in Standing Waves", TPT, Vol. 15, #5, May 1977, p. 260.
  • Harold A. Daw, "The Normal Mode Structure on the Two-Dimensional Flame Table", AJP, Vol. 56, #10, Oct. 1988, p. 913.
  • Harold A. Daw, "A Two-Dimensional Flame Table", AJP, Vol. 55, #8, Aug. 1987, p. 733.
  • George F. Spagna Jr., "Comment on 'Demonstration of Longitudinal Standing Waves in a Pipe Revisted' [Am. J. Phys. 53, 1110 (1985)]", AJP, Vol. 54, #12, Dec. 1986, p. 1146.
  • George Ficken and Francis Stephenson, "Comment on the Rubens Flame Tube", AJP, Vol. 54, #4, Apr. 1986, p. 297.
  • Duan Jihui and Charles T. P. Wang, "Demonstration of Longitudinal Standing Waves in a Pipe Revisited", AJP, Vol. 53, #11, Nov. 1985, p. 1110.
  • George Spagna, "Erratum: 'Rubens Flame Tube Demonstration: A Closer Look at the Flames' [Am. J. Phys. 51, 848-850 (1983)]", AJP, Vol. 52, #1, Jan. 1984, p. 84.
  • George F. Spagna Jr., "Rubens Flame Tube Demonstration: A Closer Look at the Flames", AJP, Vol. 51, #9, Sept. 1983, p. 848.
  • D. Rae Carpenter Jr. and Richard B. Minnix, "W-225. Gas Flames Tube", DICK and RAE Physics Demo Notebook, 1993.
  • R. W. Pohl, Physical Principles of Mechanics and Acoustics, p. 250.
  • Michael D. Gardner, Kent L. Gee, Gordon Dix, "An Investigation of Rubens Flame Tube Resonances", J. Acoustical Society of America, Vol. 125, 2009, p. 1285.
  • Borislaw Bilash II and David Maiullo, "Seeing Sound", A Demo a Day: A Year of Physics Demonstrations, p. 212.
  • Julien Clinton Sprott, "3.6, Flame Pipe", Physics Demonstrations a Sourcebook for Teachers, p. 152.
  • Harvard Natural Sciences Lecture Demonstrations, "Ring of Fire", https://sciencedemonstrations.fas.harvard.edu/presentations/ring-fire, 05/22/19.

Disclaimer: These demonstrations are provided only for illustrative use by persons affiliated with The University of Iowa and only under the direction of a trained instructor or physicist.  The University of Iowa is not responsible for demonstrations performed by those using their own equipment or who choose to use this reference material for their own purpose.  The demonstrations included here are within the public domain and can be found in materials contained in libraries, bookstores, and through electronic sources.  Performing all or any portion of any of these demonstrations, with or without revisions not depicted here entails inherent risks.  These risks include, without limitation, bodily injury (and possibly death), including risks to health that may be temporary or permanent and that may exacerbate a pre-existing medical condition; and property loss or damage.  Anyone performing any part of these demonstrations, even with revisions, knowingly and voluntarily assumes all risks associated with them.