A software tool for calculating the relative amplitude of ultrasonic waves at boundaries

Philip Picton, Stefan Kaczmarczyk

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportConference Contributionpeer-review


Whenever an ultrasonic wave encounters a boundary between two media it is partially re-flected and refracted, as any acoustic wave would be. Unlike light, the wave also undergoes mode conversion so that in the general case a single incident wave could produce two reflected waves and two refracted waves. The angles which define the path of the wave are determined by Snell’s law and are easily calculated. The relative amplitudes, on the other hand, require quite complicated formula when the angle of incidence is anything other than 0 degrees. This problem gets compounded when the angle of the incident wave goes beyond the first critical angle. At this point the angle of the refracted wave becomes imaginary and the equations to calculate the relative amplitudes become complex. This paper describes a tool that has been developed, using a spreadsheet, which performs the calculations for all incident angles. The user selects the media and the type of incident wave and the resulting waves are shown graphically as well as numerically. The tool was developed primarily as part of an undergraduate course on ultrasonic testing, but could be used more widely
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 18th International Congress on Sound and Vibration
Editors Malcolm J Crocker, Marek Pawelczyk, Nickolay Ivanov
Place of PublicationRio de Janeiro, Brazil
PublisherCurran Associates Inc
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781618392596
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2011


  • Software tool
  • Ultrasonic waves
  • Sound
  • Vibration


Dive into the research topics of 'A software tool for calculating the relative amplitude of ultrasonic waves at boundaries'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this