Skip to main content

4th Feb 2016

Member Profile: Anna Ploszajski

Anna Ploszajski 
Chemistry PhD Student

Anna made a Rubens’ Tube as part of her demonstration kit for the Science Show-Off show at the Bloomsbury Theatre. A Rubens’ Tube is a pipe with holes all along the top and a rubber membrane stretched over one end, which is flled with propane and lit like an elongated gas burner. Anna plays the trumpet, which is ideal for the job of generating sound waves, which then vibrate the rubber membrane and travel down the tube, becoming visible in the size and pattern of the fames. 

Inspired by an online video, her frst attempt at the tube was made from a plastic drainpipe and enabled her to quickly test out how possible it was to make it. The second version was made of copper – not perfect because of its thermal conductivity, but soft enough for a beginner to work with, and quite a beautiful thing in the end.

Jim from BOC helped her with the gas line and trained her in using and igniting the propane safely. They also modifed the design together to give her more control on stage. She gained confdence learning from people who deeply understand how materials behave and who were friendly and encouraging.

New skills she learnt include drilling and brazing. She found it amazing how conductive copper is and how hot it got when sanded. She also learnt a lot about how to plan a making project. She is now interested in joining the Institute of Making’s Experimental Orchestra, which will happen later this year, and getting involved with the Materials Library to explore the sound of materials.