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Ultrasonic Frequency Spectrum - Definitions and Applications

Ultrasonic waves have a wide range of applications in various fields, including:

  • Medicine: Ultrasonic imaging, such as ultrasound scans, is used for medical diagnostics. It allows doctors to visualize internal organs and tissues in real-time without the need for invasive procedures.
  • Industrial Testing: Ultrasonic testing is employed to inspect materials and structures for defects. It can detect flaws in welds, assess the integrity of pipelines, and more.
  • Cleaning: Ultrasonic cleaners use high-frequency sound waves to remove contaminants from objects like jewelry, lenses, and electronic components.
  • Pest Control: Ultrasonic pest repellent devices emit high-frequency sound waves to deter rodents and insects.
  • Navigation: Some animals, such as bats and dolphins, use ultrasonic echolocation for navigation and locating prey. Electronic depth finders also use ultrasonics.

Ultrasonic Frequency Spectrum - Definitions and Applications - RF CafeThe ultrasonic frequency spectrum refers to a range of sound frequencies that are above the upper limit of human hearing, which is typically considered to be around 20,000 hertz (Hz). Ultrasonic frequencies start above this threshold and extend into the megahertz (MHz) range. Ultrasonic waves are characterized by their high frequency and short wavelength compared to audible sound waves. Ultrasonic frequencies generally start at around 20,000 Hz (20 kHz) and can extend up to several gigahertz (GHz). The specific range considered "ultrasonic" can vary depending on the context and application.

Ultrasonic waves have much shorter wavelengths than audible sound waves. This property allows them to be used for precise measurements and imaging, as they can interact with small objects and features. Ultrasonic waves can be transmitted through various media, including air, water, and solids. The propagation speed and attenuation (weakening of the wave) depend on the specific medium. While ultrasonic waves are generally safe for most applications, it's important to be cautious when working with high-intensity ultrasonic sources, as they can generate heat and cause tissue damage. The effectiveness of ultrasonic waves can be limited by factors such as absorption, scattering, and interference, depending on the application and the medium through which they travel.

Application 0 Hz 10 Hz 100 Hz 1 kHz 10 kHz 18 kHz 50 kHz 100 kHz 200 kHz 1 MHz 10 MHz 20 MHz 100 MHz
Oil Well Drilling                      
Thickness Gauging                  
Chemical Processing              
Flaw Detection            
Flow Metering              
Liquid Gauging                  
Shake Table                      
Remote Control                        
Plastic Welding                        


Sonic Ultrasonic



Posted September 14, 2023
(updated from original post on 9/11/2009)

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