Chladni Plate

Pensar is a company full of curious people who love to explore, experiment and stretch our minds. When we came across the concept of visualizing sound waves via a Chladni plate we knew we had to make one. Jered stepped up to the plate by creating a quick and simple set up. The version he made was built mostly with parts from our shop and a little help from the internet. Warning for those attempting this in a populated area: it is LOUD. The effect is worth it though!

Basic principle:
A steel plate is excited through a range of frequencies. At the resonant frequencies the plate oscillates significantly and standing waves are created. Nodes, areas of zero amplitude, form and the sugar (or other medium) concentrates in these areas creating visual patterns. It’s named after its inventor, Ernst Chladni who was a physicist, musical instrument maker and musician.

Supply list for making a Chladni plate:

  • Earplugs (So loud!)
  • Chladni Plate (Steel plate with hole in center, make yourself one or available on Amazon for ~$45)
  • Surface Transducer Exciter (~$20, Amazon)
  • 15W Amplifier ($16, Parts-Express)
  • One of the many YouTube video tutorials on making a Chladni plate
  • Wave Generator software (, Free)
  • Regular sugar (we also tested salt, coffee, and powdered sugar but the results weren’t as good)

Jered is a Mechanical Engineer here at Pensar. You can check out all our areas of expertise including Mechanical Engineering, here.