jalpa asked in Science & MathematicsPhysics · 1 decade ago

what is ultrasonic waves and what are it's applications ?

hey guyz and gals ....

i have to make a project on ultrasonic waves and it's applications

so please help me with some good definitions and applications and that too in brief ...

4 Answers

  • Jonny
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    An ultrasonic wave is a sound with a frequency greater than the upper limit of human hearing, this limit being approximately 20 kilohertz (20,000 hertz).

    go to this site for all you need to know


  • 1 decade ago

    Ultrasonic waves are sound waves who's frequency is too high for the human ear to hear. As for applications, I suppose dog whistles might be one. Dogs can hear higher frequencies then humans so that's why the whistle seems to make no noise at all to us but dogs can hear it.

  • Wicked
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    The uses for ultrasonic waves is being examined.

    uses include:


    medical applications


    physics applications as in fusion

  • 1 decade ago

    An ultrasonic wave is a sound with a frequency greater than the upper limit of human hearing, this limit being approximately 20 kilohertz (20,000 hertz).

    [edit] Ability to hear ultrasound

    Some animals, such as dogs, dolphins, bats, and mice have an upper frequency limit that is greater than that of the human ear and thus can hear ultrasound. Children can hear some high-pitched sounds that older adults cannot hear, as in humans the upper limit pitch of hearing gets lower with age (a cell phone company has used this to create ring signals only able to be heard by younger humans[1]). This frequency limit is caused by the middle ear that acts as a low-pass filter. If ultrasound is fed directly into the skull bone and reaches the cochlea without passing through the middle ear, much higher frequencies (up to about 200 kHz) can be heard. This effect (sometimes called ultrasonic hearing) was first discovered by divers exposed to a high-frequency (ca. 50 kHz) sonar signal.

    Sonogram of a foetus at 14 weeks (Profile)

    [edit] Diagnostic sonography

    Main article: Medical Sonography

    Medical sonography (ultrasonography) is a useful ultrasound-based diagnostic medical imaging technique used to visualize muscles, tendons, and many internal organs, their size, structure and any pathological lesions. They are also used to visualize a fetus during routine and emergency prenatal care. Ultrasound scans are performed by medical health care professionals called sonographers. Obstetric sonography is commonly used during pregnancy.

    Ultrasound is generally regarded as a "safe test" because it does not use ionising radiation as in x-rays, nuclear medicine, or CT. But it is a form of energy, and scans should only be performed for a suitable medical indication by trained operators (sonographers). Scans performed for baby photos are considered by the profession to be unethical.

    The biggest danger of ultrasound is often considered to be misdiagnosis by untrained operators.

    A study on rodent fetus brains that are exposed to ultrasound showed signs of damage. Speculation on human fetuses can be in a range of no significant complications to variety of mental and brain disorder. The study shows that rodent brain cells failed to grow to their proper position and remained scattered in incorrect parts of the brain. The conditions of this experiment are different from typical fetal scanning because of the long dwell times. Care should be taken to use low power settings and avoid pulsed wave scanning of the fetal brain unless specifically indicated in high risk pregnancies.

    [edit] Biomedical ultrasound applications

    Ultrasound also has therapeutic applications, which can be highly beneficial when used with dosage precautions[2]:

    According to RadiologyInfo [1], Ultrasounds are useful in the detection of Pelvic abnormalities and can involve techniques known as abdominal (transabdominal) ultrasound, vaginal (transvaginal or endovaginal) ultrasound in women, and also rectal (transrectal) ultrasound in men.

    Treating benign and malignant tumors and other disorders, via a process known as Focused Ultrasound Surgery (FUS) or HIFU, High Intensity Focused Ultrasound. These procedures generally use lower frequencies than medical diagnostic ultrasound (from 250 kHz to 2000 kHz), but significantly higher time-averaged intensities. The treatment is often guided by MRI, as in Magnetic Resonance guided Focused Ultrasound.

    More powerful ultrasound sources may be used to clean teeth in dental hygiene or generate local heating in biological tissue, e.g. in occupational therapy, physical therapy and cancer treatment.

    Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy uses a powerful focused ultrasound source to break up kidney stones[3].

    Focused ultrasound sources may be used for cataract treatment by phacoemulsification.

    Additional physiological effects of low-intensity ultrasound have recently been discovered, e.g. the ability to stimulate bone-growth and its potential to disrupt the blood-brain barrier for drug delivery.

    Ultrasound is used in UAL (= ultrasound-assisted lipectomy), or liposuction.

    Doppler ultrasound is being tested for use in aiding tissue plasminogen activator treatment in stroke sufferers. This procedure is called Ultrasound-Enhanced Systemic Thrombolysis.

    Low intensity pulsed ultrasound is used for therapeutic tooth and bone regeneration.

    Ultrasound can also be used for elastography. This can be useful in medical diagnoses, as elasticity can discern healthy from unhealthy tissue for specific organs/growths. In some cases unhealthy tissue may have a lower system Q, meaning that the system acts more like a large heavy spring as compared to higher values of system Q (healthy tissue) that respond to higher forcing frequencies. Ultrasonic elastography is different from conventional ultrasound, as a transceiver (pair) and a transmitter are used instead of only a transceiver. One transducer (a single element {or array of elements} acts as both the transmitter and receiver to image the region of interest over time. The extra transmitter is a very low frequency transmitter, and perturbs the system so the unhealthy tissue oscillates at a low frequency and the healthy tissue does not. The transceiver, which operates at a high frequency (typically MHz) then measures the displacement of the unhealthy tissue (oscillating at a much lower frequency). The movement of the slowly oscillating tissue is used to determine the elasticity of the material, which can then be used to distinguish healthy from unhealthy tissue.

    Ultrasound has been shown to act synergistically with antibiotics in bacterial cell killing.[4]

    Ultrasound has been postulated to allow thicker eukaryotic cell tissue cultures by promoting nutrient penetration.Scientific Article

    Ultrasound in the low MHz range in the form of standing waves is an emerging tool for contactless separation, concentration and manipulation of microparticles and biological cells. The basis is the acoustic radiation force, a non-linear effect which causes particles to be attracted to either the nodes or anti-nodes of the standing wave depending on the acoustic contrast factor, which is a function of the sound velocities and densities of the particle and of the medium in which the particle is immersed.

    [edit] Industrial ultrasound

    Ultrasound is also used in industry to find flaws in materials. Frequencies of 2 to 10 MHz are common but for special purposes other frequencies are used. Inspection may be manual or automated and is an essential part of modern manufacturing processes. Most metals can be inspected as well as plastics and aerospace composites. Ultrasound can also be used for heat transfer in liquids[5]. Iowa State University Researchers recently employed ultrasound in dry corn milling plant to enhance ethanol production (http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_27...

    [edit] Ultrasound flow meter

    Main article: Ultrasound flow meter

    [edit] Ultrasonic cleaning

    Ultrasonic cleaners, sometimes mistakenly called supersonic cleaners, are used at frequencies from 20-40 kHz for jewellery, lenses and other optical parts, watches, dental instruments, surgical instruments and industrial parts. An ultrasonic cleaner works mostly by energy released from the collapse of millions of microscopic cavitations near the dirty surface. The bubbles formed by cavitation collapse forming tiny jets directed at the surface. Home ultrasonic cleaners are available and cost about US $60 or more.

    [edit] Ultrasound and animals

    [edit] Rodents

    Ultrasound generator/speaker systems are sold with claims that they frighten away rodents and insects, but there is no scientific evidence that the devices work; controlled tests have shown that rodents quickly learn that the speakers are harmless. However, the pitch used is well within the range that most children can hear, and can cause headaches.

    [edit] Dogs

    The dog whistle is used to call to a dog. It makes ultrasound at a frequency in the range of 16000 Hz to 22000 Hz that dogs can hear.

    [edit] Dolphins and whales

    It is well known that dolphins and some whales can hear ultrasound and have their own natural sonar system.

    [edit] Fish

    Several types of fish can detect ultrasound. Of the order Clupeiformes, members of the subfamily Alosinae (shad), have been shown to be able to detect sounds up to 180 kHz, while the other subfamilies (e.g. herrings) can hear only up to 4 kHz.[6]

    [edit] Insects

    [edit] Moths

    There is evidence that ultrasound in the range emitted by bats causes flying moths to make evasive maneuvers, because bats eat moths. Ultrasonic frequencies trigger a reflex action in the noctuid moth that cause it to drop a few inches in its flight to evade attack. [2]

    [edit] Mosquitoes

    There is a theory that ultrasound of certain frequencies, while not audible to humans, repel mosquitoes. There are computer programs available on the internet that claim to use this phenomenon for pest-control. There have been mixed reports about the effectiveness of this method towards mosquito-control.

    [edit] Sonochemistry

    Main article: Sonochemistry

    Power ultrasound in the 20-100 kHz range is used in chemistry. The ultrasound does not interact directly with molecules to induce the chemical change, as its typical wavelength (in the millimeter range) is too long compared to the molecules. Instead:-

    It causes cavitation which causes local extremes of temperature and pressure in the liquid where the reaction happens.

    It breaks up solids and removes passivating layers of inert material to give a larger surface area for the reaction to occur over.

    Both of these make the reaction faster.

    [edit] Ultrasonic disintegration

    Some sorts of ultrasound can disintegrate biological cells including bacteria. This has uses in biological science and in killing bacteria in sewage. High power ultrasound at frequency of around 20kHz produces cavitation that facilitates particle disintegration. Dr. Samir Khanal of Iowa State University employed high power ultrasound to disintegrate corn slurry to enhance liquefaction and saccharification for higher ethanol yield in dry corn milling plants.

    See examples:-




    [edit] Ultrasound as a weapon

    Main article: Sonic weaponry

    [edit] Modulated ultrasound carrying audio messages

    Main article: Modulated ultrasound

    [edit] Nonlinear Effects of Propogating Acoustic Wave

    When an acoustic wave propagates through a material, it acts as a force that creates localized pressure. When a material is under pressure (as compared to some lower equilibrium pressure), the speed of sound increases because the molecules transmitting the energy are closer together. As a result, the wave travels faster during the high pressure phase than for the lower pressure section of oscillation. Consider a sinusoidal wave with a high peak. As a result of this nonlinear effect, the peaks of the wave travel faster than the dips (near zero). When the peaks travel faster, the shape of the wave changes, as the higher amplitude sections shift farther forward than the lower pressure part of the wave and the signal approaches more of a square wave than a sinusoidal one. Fourier analysis will show that this single-frequency wave will be changed into one that has much more than a single impulse in the frequency domain! This implies a non-linear system, as a linear one cannot output frequencies that were not a part of the input signal.

    [edit] Other uses

    Ultrasound when applied in specific configurations can produce exotic phenomena such as sonoluminescence. These phenomena are being investigated partly because of the possibility of bubble fusion (a nuclear fusion reaction hypothesized to occur during sonoluminescence).

    [edit] Ultrasonic range finding

    A common use of ultrasound is in range finding; this use is also called sonar. This works simiarly to radar: An ultrasonic pulse is generated in a particular direction. If there is an object in the path of this pulse, part or all of the pulse will be reflected back to the sender as an echo and can be detected. By measuring the difference in time between the pulse being transmitted and the echo being received, it is possible to determine how far away the object is.

    Although range finding underwater is performed at both sub-audible and audible frequencies for great distances (1000 to 30000 meters), ultrasonic range finding is used when distances are shorter and the accuracy of the distance measurement is desired to be finer. Ultrasonic measurements may be limited from about a hundred to a thousand meters, but be performed with one-centimeter to one-meter accuracy.

    Bats use a variety of ultrasonic ranging (echolocation) techniques to detect their prey

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