Ultrasound

Ultrasound is sound above frequency of 20 kHz
Ultrasound echoes are used in Scanning and Range and Direction Finding. Ultrasound in liquids can be used to clean precious or delicate items because the compressions and rarefactions will shake dirt and unwanted material free without the risk of damage being caused by handling the item. Ultrasound can also be used in ultrasound scanning, range and direction finding on boats.

Ultrasound Scanning
The difference in time between emitted and reflected ultrasound waves can be used to show how far away the reflecting surface. When ultrasound is directed at the human body, the surfaces of different tissues inside the body partly reflect the ultrasound. A detector will receive ultrasound echoes at different times, depending on how deep inside the body the tissue surfaces are. These are displayed on a screen as a picture. This is a clever way of "seeing" inside a body without causing any damage. Ultrasound scans can safely be used to see an image of a developing baby inside its mother. This is called "foetal imaging" and is useful to see if the baby is healthy. It is also used in industry to show cracks inside metal objects.

Range and Direction Finding
A boat on the sea can send a beam of ultrasound down to the sea floor where it is reflected back upwards to a detector on the boat. If both the speed of sound in the water and the time taken for the ultrasound echo to get back to the boat are known, then the depth of the sea water at that place can be calculated since distance = speed x time. Ultrasound can be used by fishing boats to find fish since a shoal of fish between the boat and the sea floor will return the echo more quickly. Bats use ultrasound echoes to build up an image of their environment in darkness. They can use this to locate insects for food.

This is a land-based sonar. This was used in WW2 to detect enemy planes

John Ashfield Chris Jardine

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