The mystery of the whirly tube’s missing fundamental mode [study]

The musical instrument shown above is known by various names e.g. the whirly tube, the corrugaphone, the bloogle resonator, the voice of the dragon, the hummer, and even, according to American composer (and parodist) Peter Schickele the “Lasso d’Amore”. For acousticians, it’s noteworthy because the fundamental acoustic mode, that’s to say the note that one […]

Shuttlecock aerodynamics : part 4 : an enigma

The 16 feathers traditionally used to construct traditional shuttlecocks are normally organised in an overlapping spiral arrangement. As a result, the shuttlecock tends to whirl in flight, adding spin-stability to what would otherwise be a more haphazard trajectory. But raising the question, in which direction should it rotate? The Badminton World Federation (which oversees international […]

Europe’s walking washing machines

For many years, Europe’s washing machines tended to walk across a room, while America’s did not. Daniel Conrad and Werner Soedel explained why, in a study called On the Problem of Oscillatory Walk of Automatic Washing Machines. Their explanation was recognised by authority figures for its power to inspire youths. Conrad and Soedel, based at […]