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Calculate the diameter of a baby's head using ultrasound speed

  1. Feb 27, 2017 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Calculate the diameter of a baby's head if there is a time delay of 96 microseconds between receiving pluses from either side of the skull and the speed of ultrasound can be assumed to be 1250m/s.
    2. Relevant equations


    3. The attempt at a solution

    The diameter of the baby’s head can be calculated using distance = speed x time where:

    Speed of ultrasound = 1250 m/s
    = 0.00125 m/ms

    Therefore:
    Distance (diameter) = 0.00125 x 96
    =0.08625 m
    = 8.6 cm (1dp)

    Where am in going wrong? I'm advised to think about the echo factor the sound waves leaves the transducer reaches the skull and then has to travel back to the transducer.

    Please help!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 27, 2017 #2

    mfb

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    2016 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    I get a different result in that multiplication.

    There is another error. Imagine the source of the sound is directly at one side of the head of the baby. In terms of "head diameters", how far does the sound travel to reach the opposite side of the head and come back?
     
  4. Feb 27, 2017 #3
    Thanks for the pointer on the calculation, I'll do it again. Is the second mistake that I'm only considering travel time in one direction? So 96x2 to a count for return time too? For some reason i'm just really struggling to get my head around (pun half intended) this one.
     
  5. Feb 27, 2017 #4

    mfb

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    2016 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    That is the wrong direction.
    The sound needs 96 microseconds for both directions together.
     
  6. Feb 27, 2017 #5
    Thank you!
     
  7. Feb 27, 2017 #6
    Here's my updated attempt. Closer?

    The diameter of the baby’s head can be calculated using distance = speed x time where:



    Speed of ultrasound = 1250 m/s
    = 0.00125 m/ms

    and if 96 microseconds is the time taken for the wave to reflect then time taken across the baby’s head = 96/2
    = 48

    Therefore:
    Distance (diameter) = 0.00125 x 48
    = 0.06 m
    = 6 cm
     
  8. Feb 27, 2017 #7

    haruspex

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    2016 Award

    Yes, but "ms" is the abbreviation for milliseconds. For microseconds it is μs.
     
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