Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Singing Cold Power Lines
Name: Diane R.
Status: Other
Age: 50s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: May 2004


Question:
What makes power lines "sing" when it gets cold?



Replies:
I regret that I have no answer for this. I am not familiar with the "singing" phenomenon. High voltage power lines often make a crackling sound, and the answer why can be found by doing an Internet web search.

Bob Erck


Though I am not an expert on this phenomena, I can express a few opinions.

Power lines "sing" when they vibrate. I believe this has nothing to do with the current they are carrying.

I would expect the singing to become more noticeable during cold weather as the wires then contract and the tension increases, raising the frequencies at which they tend to vibrate; the higher frequencies would probably be much more noticeable. It is also true that during winter (when temperatures tend to be colder), there are more frequently high winds which would excite the vibrations of the wires.

Best, Dick Plano, Professor of Physics emeritus, Rutgers University



Click here to return to the Engineering Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory