Introduction: How to Use Bass Speakers As an Earthquake Simulator

Picture of How to Use Bass Speakers As an Earthquake Simulator

This Instructable is aimed at helping Earth Science teachers, Geologists, Last-minute science project students, and anyone who is willing to try a really sweet experiment out. In it, I used a bass speaker from my house and several songs from my iTunes collection.

Step 1: Parts Needed

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1 Bass Speaker, complete with mesh

3 or 4 different songs by different artists

Several different Test Materials (I used an index card, a CD, an empty Nalgene bottle, a piece of an egg carton, a piece of a composite material, and a small piece of wood.)

A software program that controls your speakers along with the bass and treble levels.

Step 2: Bass Levels

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I had to set the bass level to high and the treble and regular volume level to low. I opened up the speaker software on my computer, clicked on advanced options, and was able to change what I needed to change. The bass level was set to the highest possible setting while the treble was set to the lowest possible setting. I was then able to change the actual sound level to the lowest setting so that I could turn the speakers up to the highest setting without fear of the police interrupting my work.

The higher bass level allows for the bass speaker to pulse and put out more of a beat than the other speakers. This is necessary for this experiment.

Step 3: Songs

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Just because I'm using bass speakers doesn't mean that I just pulsed a low note through them at a constant rate. Instead, I used several songs to see what materials moved at different bass levels.

To start off, I used "Starlight" by Muse, "Just Stop" by Disturbed, and "Warm Tape" by Red Hot Chili Peppers. "Just Stop" has a very audible guitar and drum rhythm, while "Starlight" has an audible piano and drum medley. "Warm Tape" is the outsider in this case, as it contains a synthesizer along with the normal instruments of drum, bass, vocals, and guitar.

I recommend using two or three different songs in one set like I did. I made sure to use songs by different bands in different categories so that I could get an idea of the bass levels.

Step 4: Set Up

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Turn the bass speaker so the mesh is in the air and pointing up into the air. This allows the cone of the speaker, or what we're familiar with as "speakers", to visibly back and forth.

Place the test materials away from the speaker until you are ready to place them on and play a song. By doing so, you avoid putting excess weight on the speaker. This allows you to see what materials move when you do place them onto the speaker.

Step 5: Testing the Machine

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Follow these steps for your tests.

1. Start the first song and place one material onto the speaker. If there is any movement, record what kind of material and what movement you see. Sadly, I only saw movement with my index card for all three songs. The movement you are looking for is qualitative, meaning that you should record what materials move and in what way they move.

2. After you record the movement, replace the test material with another. Record any movement from the second material.

3. Repeat step 2 for every test material until you have finished with the recording.

4. Repeat steps 1-3 for every song until you are finished with the last song and last test material.

5. Make sure that you have recorded your results in some way. This will allow you to go back and show results in graph or picture form.

Step 6: Share Out

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This is the step in which you, the maker of said Earthquake Simulator, will share with your class, peers, or even the scientific community how you made such a great simulator for such a low cost. Oh, don't forget to share your results as well.

I must thank Kipkay for allowing me to use his Instructable to create a speaker for this project for me to test and, of course, the readers.

This Instructable is meant for both educational and recreational purposes, but please do not go out, build a massive bass speaker, and use it on someone's house. That is not the intention of what I set out to do.

Comments

Laisseraller (author)2012-11-08

Great post! I have changed the setting for my computer speakers to sound like an auditurm but forget how ot change it back got any suggestions?

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