Chladni Plate Experiment

Chladni Plate Experiment


In the 19th century, scientists did not know much about sound and how it travels. A scientist named Ernst Chladni was one of the first to understand the relationship between sound and waves. Use this sheet to guide you as you recreate the Chladni Plate Experiment with your classmates.


  • 1 metal pan or plate attached to a post or screw
  • 1 clamp
  • 1 violin or cello bow
  • A larger container of table salt


Attach the metal plate to a desk with a clamp. Make sure the desk is not wobbly. If necessary, put index cards underneath the legs of the desk to make sure it doesn't move.

Sprinkle a generous amount of salt on the metal plate.

Run the bow along the rim of the plate as you saw demonstrated in the video. Draw the pattern you see on the What Patterns Do You See? student sheet.

Conduct five trials. After each trial, draw the pattern on the student sheet. Make sure that each member of your group has a chance to bow the metal plate.

Clean up after you've finished conducting the experiment.

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