An ultrasonic shear wave viscometer for low viscosity Newtonian liquids

S. Mastromarino, R. Rook, D. De Haas, E. D.J. Verschuur, M. Rohde*, J. L. Kloosterman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
103 Downloads (Pure)


A method based on ultrasonic wave propagation is applied for the determination of the viscosity of low viscous liquids. A waveguide is used to remotely transmit the ultrasonic waves from a shear piezoelectric transducer into the liquid. At the solid-liquid interface, a guided wave mode, the shear mode, is used to extract the liquid viscosity. The energy of the reflected ultrasonic wave depends upon its operating frequency, the physical properties of the liquid (viscosity and density), and the waveguide (density and shear modulus). The results show that the attenuation of the waves, and thus the viscosity of the liquid, can be retrieved using this method. Measurements on water, ethanol, and mixtures of water/glycerol illustrate that the method can monitor changes in attenuation due to the viscosity of the liquid. The range of viscosities measured was between 0.8 and 60 mPa s. Compared to literature values, the relative error for these measurements was lower than 12% while the uncertainty in the measurements was lower than 5%. Besides its ability to measure low viscosities, this method offers advantages such as the capability to perform in-situ measurements of liquids in harsh environments, the omission of mechanical parts, and the possibility to handle small volumes of liquid. These features make this method suitable for low viscous liquids that are radioactive, corrosive and at high temperature.

Original languageEnglish
Article number125305
Number of pages11
JournalMeasurement Science and Technology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • acoustic bulk attenuation
  • guided waves
  • shear waves
  • ultrasonic viscometer
  • viscosity


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