Legend has it the opera singers deserve to break champagne flutes simply by wailing – but is it in reality possible? clock the video clip below to find out.

You are watching: How to break glass with sound waves

You’re probably familiar with the metropolitan legend: the opera singer ascends the stage and clears his throat. His audience cheer and also wave your champagne flutes in anticipation. He opens up his mouth – and also a roomful that glasses smash come pieces. We have actually no record that this has ever before actually happened, however there were rumours the the legend tenor Enrico Caruso might quiver a glass into a million pieces.

And according to physics, it need to be possible. It all comes under to a phenomenon well-known as resonance. Once sound hits things – such together a champagne flute – it excites the corpuscle inside, bring about them come vibrate. Each object will naturally vibrate at a certain frequency – well-known as that is resonant frequency, and if you choose a soundwave the matches that pitch, the object will start to shake much more and an ext vigorously.

Think the it like the act of pushing someone on a waver in the park, wherein you offer them a little shove every time they reach you. Gain the pace right and you’ll have actually them come screaming to slow-moving down with very tiny effort. Obtain it wrong and your efforts will actually sluggish them down.


As the above clip native Dara O Briain"s scientific research Club shows, you very first need to recognize the resonant frequency the the glass – the sound the makes once you madness it. Next all you need to do is recreate that note, by singing, screaming – or, together O Briain did, making use of speakers. Come smash a glass, you’ll need to blast it through upwards that 100 decibels of sound, i m sorry is approximately equivalent come a lawn mower.

Alas, the won’t work-related with tumblers. Alcohol glasses and also champagne flutes are particularly resonant since of their hollow shape and also narrow stems, which enable them to be hosted without dampening under the vibrations.

And as regular dinner party hosts will know, the most expensive glasses space the simplest to smash – due to the fact that they space thinner and made that crystal, which is exceptionally brittle. Antiques are also likely come break, since they may contain more microscopic cracks to fracture under pressure. For this reason you’d much better be mindful playing music about your grandparent’s best glassware.

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