Dancing sand at Science Centre
Thu, Dec 17, 2009
my paper

By Jake Chng

Singapore will be able to see sand "dancing" to form different patterns on a steel plate encased in a plastic orb, in a new exhibition on sound.

In this exhibit created by the centre, soundwaves emitted by a signal generator below the plate cause it to vibrate.

This results in the formation of different regions on the plate - some vibrating at high frequencies that push sand away, and others at low frequencies where sand gathers.

The sand then forms shapes such as stars and circles, and patterns.

The patterns change when the overall frequency level of the soundwaves emitted by the signal generator is adjusted.

Dancing Sand is one of 34 exhibits that are on display at The Sound Exhibition, a $1.3 million permanent exhibition launched yesterday at the centre, which shows the science behind sound, as well as its uses and effects.

Another exhibit, the Bone Conductor, is a stainless-steel rod that emits music to the user, when he bites down on it and covers his ears.

Sound is conducted through the teeth into the eardrums, showing that sound can travel through solid objects.

"With this exhibition, we hope to fascinate and educate visitors, especially teenagers, on the science, uses and effects of sound. We wish to inspire them to come up with new ideas and technologies with the concepts of sound shown here," said the centre's chief executive officer, Dr Chew Tuan Chiong.

The centre is open from 10am to 6pm from Tuesdays to Sundays, and closed on Mondays that are not school or public holidays. Admission costs $6 for adults, $3 for children aged three to 16, and $3.60 for those aged above 55.

No extra fees will be charged for the new exhibition.

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