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Balloon Tuba

Get your balloons a tootin’ with this home-made tuba!

Australian Curriculum links

  • Science > Physical Sciences > Year 1 > ACSSU020
  • Science > Science as a Human Endeavour > Year 1 > ACSHE022

You’ll need

  • Section of PVC piping, about 20mm in diameter and 20–30 cm in length
  • Balloon
  • Packing tape

Try this

Use the packing tape to attach the balloon over one end of the PVC pipe.

Blow through the other end of the piping to blow up the balloon. Hold the air inside the balloon by pinching its neck.

Stretch the balloon to one side of the pipe to form a skin over the pipe opening.

Slowly move the balloon, allowing a small amount of air to flow out through the tube. This should make the skin vibrate.

Try stretching the balloon and releasing it, or changing the angle at which you hold the balloon.

Use paper towel and methylated spirits to wipe clean the PVC pipe before and after you have used your balloon tuba.

What’s happening?

The section of balloon that forms the skin over the end of the pipe vibrates as air blows out of the balloon. This vibration causes the air inside the tube to vibrate and produces a sound. Higher frequency vibrations create a higher pitched sound.