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Describe Uses of Ultrasound

In this worksheet, students will define ultrasound and describe how it can be used in industrial and medical applications.

'Describe Uses of Ultrasound' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 3

Year:  Year 7 Science worksheets

Curriculum topic:   Physics: Waves

Curriculum subtopic:   Energy Waves

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

The range of human hearing

Frequency is the number of times a wave vibrates in one second. All sounds have a particular frequency, with low frequencies producing low-pitched 'deep' sounds, and high frequencies producing high-pitched 'squeaky' sounds. 




A whistle produces a sound with a high frequency ....




...while something like a rumbling lorry produces a much lower frequency.


Everyone's hearing is slightly different, but there are limits to the frequencies that human ears can detect.


The range of human hearing is between 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz. Anything above 20,000Hz is called ultrasound. These are sound waves with such high frequencies that we are unable to hear them. However, these waves have everyday uses. 


Medical uses of ultrasound

One of the most common uses of ultrasound is to look inside the human body. In a hospital, a doctor or a nurse sends a 'pulse' of ultrasound waves into the person's body, which is then reflected back to the surface of their skin. These reflections are then turned into an image on a computer screen. This is a much safer way of looking inside the body than cutting you open!


baby scan


In the photograph above, a mother is having a scan of her unborn baby. Ultrasound does not harm the mother or the baby, so it is much safer than using X-rays, which can damage cells.


Other uses of ultrasound

There are many other everyday uses of ultrasound.


lump of metal


In manufacturing and industry, the quality of materials can be examined with ultrasound to look for cracks or damage


boat using sonar

Sonar is a method of navigating a boat or a submarine. This also uses ultrasound, as an ultrasound wave is sent to the bottom of the sea, and the time taken for the wave to reflect back can be used to work out how deep the water is, or whether there are obstacles in the way.


gold ring


Ultrasound is used to clean jewellery, as its vibrations can knock away particles of dirt that cannot be reached.


Finally, ultrasound can be used in physiotherapy, as it can be applied to a patient's muscles. The energy from the ultrasound wave transfers heat energy to the muscles to treat pain


So you can see that ultrasound is a very useful tool.  


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