Resonance frequencies

The Great Belt East Bridge (Denmark)
The wind as musician

Why are the vibrating strings of an aeolian harp interesting to scientists? Wind not only makes musical instrument strings vibrate. It can also cause bridges, high voltage transmission lines, towers and automobile antennas to vibrate violently, ending up in a "resonance catastrophe" causing their destruction. That's the reason for investigating this phenomenon at DLR.


Vibration testing of the A340

Aeroelastic problems not only arise in all their variety on aircraft and space platforms, but also on buildings subjected to the forces of the wind. DLR scientists at the Institute of Aeroelastics in Göttingen are investigating ways to correctly predict dangerous aeroelastic phenomena, so that new structures and prototypes can be designed for safe operation.

The aeolian harp

Schüler an der äolsharfe
Students working with an aeolian harp

Aeolian harps, also known as wind harps, have been around since 1000 BC and are wonderfully suited today for investigating current questions in science. Using the aeolian harp at the DLR_School_Lab you can find out how sounds arise, and what their generation has to do with the speed of wind or even with the collapse of eddies. You'll soon realize that you've taken the first steps into the world of flow mechanics and construction aerodynamics.

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Experiment description Resonance frequencies (German only) (