Nonlinear Behavior of High-Intensity Ultrasound Propagation in an Ideal Fluid

Jitendra A. Kewalramani, Zhenting Zou, Richard W. Marsh, Bruce G. Bukiet, Jay N. Meegoda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


In this paper, nonlinearity associated with intense ultrasound is studied by using the one-dimensional motion of nonlinear shock wave in an ideal fluid. In nonlinear acoustics, the wave speed of different segments of a waveform is different, which causes distortion in the waveform and can result in the formation of a shock (discontinuity). Acoustic pressure of high-intensity waves causes particles in the ideal fluid to vibrate forward and backward, and this disturbance is of relatively large magnitude due to high-intensities, which leads to nonlinearity in the waveform. In this research, this vibration of fluid due to the intense ultrasonic wave is modeled as a fluid pushed by one complete cycle of piston. In a piston cycle, as it moves forward, it causes fluid particles to compress, which may lead to the formation of a shock (discontinuity). Then as the piston retracts, a forward-moving rarefaction, a smooth fan zone of continuously changing pressure, density, and velocity is generated. When the piston stops at the end of the cycle, another shock is sent forward into the medium. The variation in wave speed over the entire waveform is calculated by solving a Riemann problem. This study examined the interaction of shocks with a rarefaction. The flow field resulting from these interactions shows that the shock waves are attenuated to a Mach wave, and the pressure distribution within the flow field shows the initial wave is dissipated. The developed theory is applied to waves generated by 20 KHz, 500 KHz, and 2 MHz transducers with 50, 150, 500, and 1500 W power levels to explore the effect of frequency and power on the generation and decay of shock waves. This work enhances the understanding of the interactions of high-intensity ultrasonic waves with fluids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-163
Number of pages17
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


  • nonlinear wave propagation
  • power ultrasound
  • rarefaction
  • shock


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