COSAM » Events » 2015 » September » Physics Colloquium - The Physics of Wind Musical Instruments

Physics Colloquium - The Physics of Wind Musical Instruments
Time: Sep 11, 2015 (03:00 PM)
Location: 236 Parker Hall - Snacks in 200 Allison at 2:45


Musical instruments have been studied by physicists for more than a century. Modeling of instruments has played a major role in this work, and we now have good "first principles" models of instruments such as the piano and guitar, with which the sound produced by these instruments can be calculated directly from Newton's laws. Modeling of wind instruments such as the recorder, flute, and trumpet, is more challenging as the Navier-Stokes equations are required to describe the complex motion of air in and near the mouthpiece. The Navier-Stokes equations are a set of nonlinear partial differential equations whose solution gives the density and velocity of a fluid, such as air, as a function of time. High performance (parallel) computers that are now available are able to deal with the Navier-Stokes equations for some of the geometries relevant for wind instruments. In this talk I will describe some of the interesting physics that can be addressed in this way and present results from recent studies of the recorder and flute.

Last updated: 09/11/2015