Ultrasonic wave velocity measurement in small polymeric and cortical bone specimens

S. S. Kohles, J. R. Bowers, A. C. Vailas, R. Vanderby

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39 Scopus citations


A system was refined for the determination of the bulk ultrasonic wave propagation velocity in small cortical bone specimens. Longitudinal and shear wave propagations were measured using ceramic, piezoelectric 20 and 5 MHz transducers, respectively. Results of the pulse transmission technique were refined via the measurement of the system delay time. The precision and accuracy of the system were quantified using small specimens of polyoxymethylene, polystyrene-butadiene, and high-density polyethylene. These polymeric materials had known acoustic properties, similarity of propagation velocities to cortical bone, and minimal sample inhomogeneity. Dependence of longitudinal and transverse specimen dimensions upon propagation times was quantified. To confirm the consistency of longitudinal wave propagation in small cortical bone specimens (<1.0 mm), cut-down specimens were prepared from a normal rat femur. Finally, cortical samples were prepared from each often normal rat femora, and Young’s moduli (Eii), shear moduli (Gij), and Poisson ratios (vij) were measured. For all specimens (bone, polyoxymethylene, polystyrene-butadiene, and high-density polyethylene), strong linear correlations (R2 > 0.997) were maintained between propagation time and distance throughout the size ranges down to less than 0.4 mm. Results for polyoxymethylene, polystyrene-butadiene, and highdensity polyethylene were accurate to within 5 percent of reported literature values. Measurement repeatability (precision) improved with an increase in the wave transmission distance (propagating dimension). No statistically significant effect due to the transverse dimension was detected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-236
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Biomechanical Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Physiology (medical)


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