The Chimney Effect

1st exhibition: MacLaren Art Centre, Barrie, Ontario,

February 26 – May 29, 2011

An installation based on the Stack Effect*

A steel and glass box is placed in front of a fireplace so that an airtight fitting is achieved. Naturally-occurring air drafts flowing up the chimney are forced to flow through a narrow aperture built into the box, containing several harpsichord strings. As the air flows over the strings, Aeolian tones are created and amplified through contact to the box. As pressure changes occur in the room — for instance, when doors are opened or closed — the tonality of the Aeolian tones will change in accordance.

* The Stack Effect is the movement of air into and out of buildings, chimneys, flue gas stacks, or other containers, and is driven by buoyancy. Buoyancy occurs due to a difference in indoor-to-outdoor air density resulting from temperature and moisture differences. The result is either a positive or negative buoyancy force. The greater the thermal difference and the height of the structure, the greater the buoyancy force, and thus the stack effect. The stack effect is also referred to as the ‘chimney effect’, and it helps drive natural ventilation and infiltration.

©Gordon Monahan 2011