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About Ultrasounds

History

Acoustics, the science of sound, starts as far back as Pythagoras in the 6th century BC, who wrote on the mathematical properties of stringed instruments. Sir Francis Galton constructed a whistle producing ultrasound in 1893. The first technological application of ultrasound was an attempt to detect submarines by Paul Langevin in 1917. The piezoelectric effect, discovered by Jacques and Pierre Curie in 1880, was useful in transducers to generate and detect ultrasonic waves in air and water.Echolocation in bats was discovered by Lazzaro Spallanzani in 1794, when he demonstrated that bats hunted and navigated by inaudible sound and not vision.

Perception in humans and animals
Humans

The upper frequency limit in humans (approximately 20 kHz) is due to limitations of the middle ear. Auditory sensation can occur if high├óÇÉintensity ultrasound is fed directly into the human skull and reaches the cochlea through bone conduction, without passing through the middle ear.

Children can hear some high-pitched sounds that older adults cannot hear, because in humans the upper limit pitch of hearing tends to decrease with age.An American cell phone company has used this to create ring signals supposedly only able to be heard by younger humans;but many older people can hear the signals, which may be because of the considerable variation of age-related deterioration in the upper hearing threshold. The Mosquito is an electronic device that uses a high pitched frequency to deter loitering by young people.

Detection and ranging
Non-contact sensor

An ultrasonic level or sensing system requires no contact with the target. For many processes in the medical, pharmaceutical, military and general industries this is an advantage over inline sensors that may contaminate the liquids inside a vessel or tube or that may be clogged by the product.

Motion sensors and flow measurement

A common ultrasound application is an automatic door opener, where an ultrasonic sensor detects a person's approach and opens the door. Ultrasonic sensors are also used to detect intruders; the ultrasound can cover a wide area from a single point. The flow in pipes or open channels can be measured by ultrasonic flowmeters, which measure the average velocity of flowing liquid. In rheology, an acoustic rheometer relies on the principle of ultrasound. In fluid mechanics, fluid flow can be measured using an ultrasonic flow meter.

Ultrasound Identification (USID)

Ultrasound Identification (USID) is a Real Time Locating System (RTLS) or Indoor Positioning System (IPS) technology used to automatically track and identify the location of objects in real time using simple, inexpensive nodes (badges/tags) attached to or embedded in objects and devices, which then transmit an ultrasound signal to communicate their location to microphone sensors.

Processing and power

High-power applications of ultrasound often use frequencies between 20 kHz and a few hundred kHz. Intensities can be very high; above 10 watts per square centimeter, cavitation can be inducted in liquid media, and some applications use up to 1000 watts per square centimeter. Such high intensities can induce chemical changes or produce significant effects by direct mechanical action, and can inactivate harmful microrganism

Processing

Ultrasonication offers great potential in the processing of liquids and slurries, by improving the mixing and chemical reactions in various applications and industries. Ultrasonication generates alternating low-pressure and high-pressure waves in liquids, leading to the formation and violent collapse of small vacuum bubbles. This phenomenon is termed cavitation and causes high speed impinging liquid jets and strong hydrodynamic shear-forces. These effects are used for the deagglomeration and milling of micrometre and nanometre-size materials as well as for the disintegration of cells or the mixing of reactants. In this aspect, ultrasonication is an alternative to high-speed mixers and agitator bead mills.

Ultrasonic disintegration

Similar to ultrasonic cleaning, biological cells including bacteria can be disintegrated. High power ultrasound produces cavitation that facilitates particle disintegration or reactions. This has uses in biological science for analytical or chemical purposes (sonication and sonoporation) and in killing bacteria in sewage. High power ultrasound can disintegrate corn slurry and enhance liquefaction and saccharification for higher ethanol yield in dry corn milling plants.

Ultrasonic humidifier

The ultrasonic humidifier, one type of nebulizer (a device that creates a very fine spray), is a popular type of humidifier. It works by vibrating a metal plate at ultrasonic frequencies to nebulize (sometimes incorrectly called "atomize") the water. Because the water is not heated for evaporation, it produces a cool mist. The ultrasonic pressure waves nebulize not only the water but also materials in the water including calcium, other minerals, viruses, fungi, bacteria,

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