Ultrasonic methods

  • C. Javanaud
  • M. M. Robins


Ultrasound is defined as a longitudinal pressure wave with frequency above the range of human hearing (16 kHz). Uses of ultrasound include underwater range-finding (Anon, 1988) and medical applications (Hill and ter Haar, 1982). There are, however, other less well-known applications. Between 20 kHz and approx. 100 kHz, high power devices are used to initiate or speed up chemical reactions. This branch of ultrasonics is known as sonochemistry (Mason and Lorimer, 1989), and to date has found little application in food materials. However, high frequency ultrasonic methods (1-100 MHz) which usually operate at low power are used to examine food and related systems. The emphasis in these applications is on the use of low power to probe the material with minimal disruption. Although in principle the properties of materials are affected by their measurement, in practice, high frequency ultrasonic waves leave materials essentially unchanged. The great advantage of ultrasonics compared with other non-intrusive methods such as light scattering, is that the majority of food materials that are optically opaque do transmit ultrasound. The exceptions are systems containing dispersed air, since high frequency sound is strongly attenuated by gases. There remains a wide range of liquid based foods, and even certain solids, which are amenable to analysis using ultrasonic methods.


Attenuation Coefficient Ultrasonic Wave Ultrasonic Velocity Ultrasonic Method Tone Burst 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Javanaud
  • M. M. Robins

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