Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Ultrasound - Serene

What is the wavelength?

The wavelength of an ultrasound is 17 milimeters. Any wavelength that is longer than 17mm is classified as a sound wave.

Does ultrasound need a medium?

Yes, ultrasound needs a medium. Ultrasound waves can pass through fluid and soft tissues. However, it does not travel well through air nor bone. This is because the molecular density of air is too low to transfer ultrasound.

What is ultrasound?

Ultrasound is a procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves that are inaudible to the human ear. They are able to identify objects concealed inside a body (not necessarily a human body). It can identify the distance, size and shape of the objects. The sound waves bounce back at different intervals depending on the type of materials they pass through. It travels at different speeds depending on the density and compressibility of the materials It is noninvasive which means that it does not need to come into contact with the object it is detecting.

It is used in a diagnostic medical procedure to produce dynamic visual images of organs, tissue or blood vessels in the body. The sound waves are transmitted to the area they want to see and the returning echos are recorded. It has been used in the detection and treatment of heart disease, heart attacks, vascular disease and guide fine-needle tissue biopsy.

It is also used by ships in Sonar. This is used to determine the depth of water they are in. The purpose of using ultrasound is because a higher frequency would allow the shop to penetrate the water further. They calculate the depth of water by timing how long the echo takes to come back and multiplying that value to the speed of sound in water.

What are the uses and dangers of ultrasound?


  • Ultrasound is noninvasive. (a painless procedure)
  • Ultrasound is able to pass through the body to produce echos. This enables it to identify the distance, size and shape of objects concealed inside the body. This is used in ships.
  • Ultrasound waves can pass through fluid and soft tissues. Hence, it is useful for examining fluid-filled organs like the liver.
  • Ultrasound can show the movement and function of the organs and blood vessels.


  • Ultrasound waves are unable to pass through bone or gas. Hence, it is limited to only examining regions surrounded by the bone or regions that contain gas.

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