Ultrasonic propagation in liquid and ice water drops. Effect of porosity

Michiel Mendonck, Sofía Aparicio*, Cristóbal González Díaz, Margarita G. Hernández, Guillermo M.Muñoz Caro, José Javier Anaya, Stéphanie Cazaux

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)


This work studies ultrasonic propagation in liquid and ice water drops. The effect of porosity on attenuation of ultrasonic waves in the drops is also explored. The motivation of this research was the possible application of ultrasonic techniques to the study of interstellar and com-etary ice analogs. These ice analogs, made by vapor deposition onto a cold substrate at 10 K, can display high porosity values up to 40%. We found that the ultrasonic pulse was fully attenuated in such ice, and decided to grow ice samples by freezing a liquid drop. Several experiments were performed using liquid or frozen water drops with and without pores. An ultrasonic pulse was transmitted through each drop and measured. This method served to estimate the ultrasonic velocity of each drop by measuring drop size and time-of-flight of ultrasonic transmission. Propagation of ultrasonic waves in these drops was also simulated numerically using the SimNDT pro-gram developed by the authors. After that, the ultrasonic velocity was related with the porosity using a micromechanical model. It was found that a low value of porosity in the ice is sufficient to attenuate the ultrasonic propagation. This explains the observed lack of transmission in porous astrophysical ice analogs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4790
Number of pages20
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Bubbles
  • Liquid water
  • Porosity
  • Ultrasonic techniques
  • Water ice
  • Wave propagation


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