Q:

What are ultrasonic waves?

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Quick Answer

Ultrasonic waves are sound waves transmitted above the human-detectable frequency range, usually above 20,000 Hz. They are used by some animals and in medical or industrial technological devices.

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What are ultrasonic waves?
Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters CC-BY 2.0

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Some ultrasound-emitting devices are used to silence barking dogs without hurting human hearing, because only dogs find the sounds intolerable. Similarly, some medical equipment for diagnosing health complications can produce ultrasonic sounds of 10 MHz and above. Such sounds do not harm human tissue.

Bats use high-frequency sounds to navigate and catch prey. The animals emit ultrasonic waves while moving at high speed and in pitch darkness. When the sounds are reflected back, bats can tell what exactly is in front of them.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is ultrasonic sound?

    A:

    Sound is generally classed as ultrasonic when its frequency exceeds 20,000 hertz. This is the upper range of humans' ability to perceive, though the ultrasonic range of frequencies extends upward into the millions of hertz.

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  • Q:

    How are electromagnetic waves different from mechanical waves?

    A:

    Electromagnetic and mechanical waves differ in that electromagnetic waves are always longitudinal and do not require a known medium, while mechanical waves are either longitudinal or compression waves and require a medium. All known electromagnetic waves are also known as forms of light. An example of a longitudinal mechanical wave is a wave in water, while sound is an example of a compression wave.

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  • Q:

    What are transverse waves?

    A:

    A transverse wave is one where the displacement of the medium in which the wave is travelling is perpendicular to its propagation. A pond ripple is an example of a transverse wave.

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  • Q:

    What are compressional waves?

    A:

    Compressional waves are waves that move along the direction of propagation in a back and forth motion. Common examples of compressional waves include sound waves and P waves, which are types of seismic waves.

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