Aeroacoustics of the swinging corrugated tube: Voice of the Dragon

Güne Nakibolu*, Oleksii Rudenko, Avraham Hirschberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
409 Downloads (Pure)


When one swings a short corrugated pipe segment around one's head, it produces a musically interesting whistling sound. As a musical toy it is called a Hummer and as a musical instrument, the Voice of the Dragon. The fluid dynamics aspects of the instrument are addressed, corresponding to the sound generation mechanism. Velocity profile measurements reveal that the turbulent velocity profile developed in a corrugated pipe differs notably from the one of a smooth pipe. This velocity profile appears to have a crucial effect both on the non-dimensional whistling frequency (Strouhal number) and on the amplitude of the pressure fluctuations. Using a numerical model based on incompressible flow simulations and vortex sound theory, excellent predictions of the whistling Strouhal numbers are achieved. The model does not provide an accurate prediction of the amplitude. In the second part of the paper the sound radiation from a Hummer is discussed. The acoustic measurements obtained in a semi-anechoic chamber are compared with a theoretical radiation model. Globally the instrument behaves as a rotating (Leslie) horn. The effects of Doppler shift, wall reflections, bending of the tube, non-constant rotational speed on the observed frequency, and amplitude are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)749-765
Number of pages17
JournalThe Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012


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