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  • Define acoustic impedance and intensity reflection coefficient.
  • Describe medical and other uses of ultrasound technology.
  • Calculate acoustic impedance using density values and the speed of ultrasound.
  • Calculate the velocity of a moving object using Doppler-shifted ultrasound.
An ultrasound image of a 21 week old fetus.
Ultrasound is used in medicine to painlessly and noninvasively monitor patient health and diagnose a wide range of disorders. (credit: abbybatchelder, Flickr)

Any sound with a frequency above 20,000 Hz (or 20 kHz)—that is, above the highest audible frequency—is defined to be ultrasound. In practice, it is possible to create ultrasound frequencies up to more than a gigahertz. (Higher frequencies are difficult to create; furthermore, they propagate poorly because they are very strongly absorbed.) Ultrasound has a tremendous number of applications, which range from burglar alarms to use in cleaning delicate objects to the guidance systems of bats. We begin our discussion of ultrasound with some of its applications in medicine, in which it is used extensively both for diagnosis and for therapy.

Characteristics of ultrasound

The characteristics of ultrasound, such as frequency and intensity, are wave properties common to all types of waves. Ultrasound also has a wavelength that limits the fineness of detail it can detect. This characteristic is true of all waves. We can never observe details significantly smaller than the wavelength of our probe; for example, we will never see individual atoms with visible light, because the atoms are so small compared with the wavelength of light.

Ultrasound in medical therapy

Ultrasound, like any wave, carries energy that can be absorbed by the medium carrying it, producing effects that vary with intensity. When focused to intensities of 10 3 to 10 5 W/m 2 , ultrasound can be used to shatter gallstones or pulverize cancerous tissue in surgical procedures. (See [link] .) Intensities this great can damage individual cells, variously causing their protoplasm to stream inside them, altering their permeability, or rupturing their walls through cavitation . Cavitation is the creation of vapor cavities in a fluid—the longitudinal vibrations in ultrasound alternatively compress and expand the medium, and at sufficient amplitudes the expansion separates molecules. Most cavitation damage is done when the cavities collapse, producing even greater shock pressures.

A picture of a brain tumor being removed from the skull using a clinical probe.
The tip of this small probe oscillates at 23 kHz with such a large amplitude that it pulverizes tissue on contact. The debris is then aspirated. The speed of the tip may exceed the speed of sound in tissue, thus creating shock waves and cavitation, rather than a smooth simple harmonic oscillator–type wave.

Most of the energy carried by high-intensity ultrasound in tissue is converted to thermal energy. In fact, intensities of 10 3 size 12{"10" rSup { size 8{3} } } {} to 10 4 W/m 2 size 12{"10" rSup { size 8{4} } "W/m" rSup { size 8{2} } } {} are commonly used for deep-heat treatments called ultrasound diathermy. Frequencies of 0.8 to 1 MHz are typical. In both athletics and physical therapy, ultrasound diathermy is most often applied to injured or overworked muscles to relieve pain and improve flexibility. Skill is needed by the therapist to avoid “bone burns” and other tissue damage caused by overheating and cavitation, sometimes made worse by reflection and focusing of the ultrasound by joint and bone tissue.

Questions & Answers

how do you calculate the 5% uncertainty of 4cm?
melia Reply
4cm/100×5= 0.2cm
how do you calculate the 5% absolute uncertainty of a 200g mass?
melia Reply
= 200g±(5%)10g
use the 10g as the uncertainty?
which topic u discussing about?
topic of question?
the relationship between the applied force and the deflection
sorry wrong question i meant the 5% uncertainty of 4cm?
its 0.2 cm or 2mm
thank you
Hello group...
well hello there
the meaning of phrase in physics
Chovwe Reply
is the meaning of phrase in physics
write an expression for a plane progressive wave moving from left to right along x axis and having amplitude 0.02m, frequency of 650Hz and speed if 680ms-¹
Gabriel Reply
how does a model differ from a theory
Friday Reply
To use the vocabulary of model theory and meta-logic, a theory is a set of sentences which can be derived from a formal model using some rule of inference (usually just modus ponens). So, for example, Number Theory is the set of sentences true about numbers. But the model is a structure together wit
with an iterpretation.
what is vector quantity
Ridwan Reply
Vector quality have both direction and magnitude, such as Force, displacement, acceleration and etc.
Is the force attractive or repulsive between the hot and neutral lines hung from power poles? Why?
Jack Reply
what's electromagnetic induction
Chinaza Reply
electromagnetic induction is a process in which conductor is put in a particular position and magnetic field keeps varying.
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what is mutual induction?
mutual induction can be define as the current flowing in one coil that induces a voltage in an adjacent coil.
how to undergo polarization
Ajayi Reply
show that a particle moving under the influence of an attractive force mu/y³ towards the axis x. show that if it be projected from the point (0,k) with the component velocities U and V parallel to the axis of x and y, it will not strike the axis of x unless u>v²k² and distance uk²/√u-vk as origin
Gabriel Reply
show that a particle moving under the influence of an attractive force mu/y^3 towards the axis x. show that if it be projected from the point (0,k) with the component velocities U and V parallel to the axis of x and y, it will not strike the axis of x unless u>v^2k^2 and distance uk^2/√u-k as origin
Gabriel Reply
No idea.... Are you even sure this question exist?
I can't even understand the question
yes it was an assignment question "^"represent raise to power pls
mu/y³ u>v²k² uk²/√u-vk please help me out
An engineer builds two simple pendula. Both are suspended from small wires secured to the ceiling of a room. Each pendulum hovers 2 cm above the floor. Pendulum 1 has a bob with a mass of 10kg . Pendulum 2 has a bob with a mass of 100 kg . Describe how the motion of the pendula will differ if the bobs are both displaced by 12º .
Imtiaz Reply
no ideas
if u at an angle of 12 degrees their period will be same so as their velocity, that means they both move simultaneously since both both hovers at same length meaning they have the same length
Modern cars are made of materials that make them collapsible upon collision. Explain using physics concept (Force and impulse), how these car designs help with the safety of passengers.
Isaac Reply
calculate the force due to surface tension required to support a column liquid in a capillary tube 5mm. If the capillary tube is dipped into a beaker of water
Mildred Reply
find the time required for a train Half a Kilometre long to cross a bridge almost kilometre long racing at 100km/h
method of polarization
What is atomic number?
Makperr Reply
The number of protons in the nucleus of an atom
Practice Key Terms 3

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Source:  OpenStax, College physics. OpenStax CNX. Jul 27, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11406/1.9
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