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Its use in Technology and Science

On this web site I will try to arrange in keywords all know cases of use of ultrasound in science and technology. As far as I know, there are only few comparable lists available. I will try to my list as complete as possible. If you are able to help me and deliver information about cases, that I have not included or any other comments, please send me this information -

1. Ultrasound in Medicine

a) For visualizing and measurement:

i. Ultrasonography - devices and techniques, having the goal, to visualize and evaluate the structures of the men's body. Today they are mostly based on the idea of synthetic aperture during sending and receiving.
ii. Doppler devices, able to measure the blood flow and visualize it. There are also combinations of ultrasonography and Doppler devices.
iii. Ultrasonic microscopy for evaluation of tissues and cells and fine structures;
iv. Special devices for measurement of some parts of the body, for example in ophthalmology;
v. Ultrasonic holography;
vi. Tissue investigation;
vii. Ultrasonic tomography;
viii. Acoustical thermography.

b) Use of power ultrasound:

i. Lithotripsy;
ii. Therapy with ultrasound;
iii. Healing of wounds;
iv. Support of tissue regeneration (i.e. teeth);
v. Local stimulation of brain;
vi. Chirurgical knife;
vii. Liposuction (and destruction).
viii. Ultrasonic baths for cleaning of instruments and containments.

2. Ultrasound in cosmetics

a) Sonophoresis (a process that increases the absorption of topical compounds into skin)
b) Atomization of fluids;
c) Ultrasonic massage;
d) Dental clearance.

3. Other use in biology.

a) Disinfection with ultrasound;
b) Influencing biological processes;
c) Hearing of ultrasonic emissions of animals;
d) Influencing the behavior of animals with the means of ultrasound..
e) Ultrasonic methods of visualization of internal structure of agricultural products.

4. Non destructive testing with ultrasound:

a) Flaw detection

i. Pulse - echo method
ii. Resonance techniques;
iii. So called TOFD technique (time of flight diffraction);
iv. Phase Array Technique.
v. Acoustical emission
vi. Ultrasonic induced thermography;
vii. Ultrasonic holography.
viii. Ultrasonic tomography.

b) Thickness measurement:

i. Thickness measurement of layers on foils and papers;.
ii. Evaluation of corrosion damage.

c) Measurement of object geometry.
d) Investigation of joints quality (spot welds, glued joints, delamination in composite materials
e) Evaluation of material quality (mechanical properties, homogeneity);
f) Evaluation of mechanical tensions.
g) Measurement of thickness of hardened layer and differences of meachincal properties inside of material volume.
h) Leak tests.

5. Use of ultrasound in measurement

a) Measurement of sound velocity, attenuation and frequency dependance of both, with the goal of evaluation of material properties, as for example:

i. Concentration of substances in solution;
ii. Mechanical features of solids;
iii. Structure of composites (porosity, grain size).
iv. Control of phase transitions.

b) Temperature measurement with means of sound velocity measurement;
c) Evaluation of grain, particle ad bubble size with means of the measurement of scattering and attenuation of ultrasonic waves;
d) Viscosity measurement;
e) Flow measurement;
f) Level and distance measurement.
g) Monitoring of construction elements.
h) Ultrasonic microscopy.
i) Acousto elastic methods.
j) Ultrasonic holography for the measurement of surface geometry;
k) Vibration measurement with ultrasound.

6. Use of ultrasound in chemistry and process engineering

a) Power ultrasound:

i. Sonochemistry - influencing chemical reactions;
ii. Homogenizing und Mixing;
iii. Cracking of large particles (i.e. Alkans);
iv. Breaking of large particles;
v. Atomization;
vi. Ultrasonic supported crystallization;
vii. Degassing of fluids;
viii. Producing of cavitation;
ix. Emulsification;
x. Acceleration of diffusion;
xi. Ultrasonic cleaning;
xii. Acceleration of enzymatic reactions (i.e. artificial altering of wines).
xiii. Water treatment;
xiv. Acceleration of sedimentation;
xv. Ultrasonic supported drying;
xvi. Ultrasonic accelerated cooling;

b) Measurement purposes:

i. Investigation of progression of chemical processes;

7. Oceanography and underwater techniques:

a) Sonars;
b) Communication with ultrasound;

8. Meteorology, atmospherical phenomena:

a) Measurement of wind velocity and direction;
b) Air temperature measurement.
c) Coagulation of fog (in the vicinity of airports and aircraft carriers);
d) Sedimentation of aerosols.

9. Machine and tooling:

a) Manufacturing methods:

i. Ultrasonic drilling, milling und Countersink Eroding Technology;
ii. Ultrasonic cutting;
iii. Welding and soldering;
iv. Ultrasonic supported cutting processes (i.e: turning and drilling)
v. Pressing (tabletting)

b) Steering:

i. Distance switch;
ii. Distance measurement;

c) Process control:

i. Ultrasonic levitation;
ii. Pulverizing;
iii. Ultrasonic cleaning;
iv. Cleaning of sieves;
v. Ultrasonic pumps.

10. Thermo acoustics:

a) Acoustical refrigerators;
b) Heat and energy production with ultrasound;
c) Thermo acoustical senders and receivers.

11. Ultrasound in electronics and computers:

a) Acoustical filters;
b) Acoustical processors;
c) Ultrasonic delay lines;
d) Ultrasonic short time memory (historical use);
e) Communication with Ultrasound;
f) Piezo transformers;
g) Ultrasonic microscopy for chip control;
h) Ultrasonic digitizer (2D and 3D scanner).

12. Ultrasound in mechatronics:

a) Ultrasonic motors and actuators;
b) Location with ultrasound;

13. Acousto-optical methods:

a) Laser beam modulation;
b) Laser beam deflectors;
c) Photo acoustical spectroscopy;

14. Biometrics and security technologies:

a) Finger recognition with ultrasound;
b) Ultrasonic sensors for alarm mechanisms;
c) Detection of glass breakage.

15. Special scientific methods and experiments:

a) Sonoluminescence;
b) Single-Bubble-Sonoluminescence:
c) Ultrasonic fountains;
d) Phonon research.

16. Ultrasound in cars:

a) Parking sensors;
b) Alarm mechanisms;
c) Sensor for seat occupation;
d) Oil quality measurement;
e) Level sensor for fuel and other fluid;
f) Velocity measurement;
g) Acoustical emission for machine control.

17. Ultrasound in construction industry

a) Concrete tests;
b) Improvement of concrete;
c) Distance measurement;
d) Removing of ceramic tiles;

18. Ultrasound in household:

a) Ultrasonic cleaning;
b) Ultrasonic humidifier;
c) Ultrasonic washing machines.

19. Other use of ultrasound:

a) Ultrasonic loudspeekers;
b) Acoustical security marks;
c) Photo acoustic coding;
d) Verification of documents;
e) Acoustical information storage;
f) Acoustically readable codes.

20. Use in military areas:

a) Air ultrasound with high energy as weapon;
b) Localization of ships and submarines;

Last actualization: 22.09.2007