ForresterPinfield SciReports2018 published.pdf (1.83 MB)
Download file

The absorption of ultrasound in emulsions: computational modelling of thermal effects

Download (1.83 MB)
journal contribution
posted on 10.09.2018, 13:51 by Derek Michael Forrester, Valerie PinfieldValerie Pinfield
Around liquid particles in a fluid of contrasting properties (for example, oil in water) in ultrasonic fields there are small regions where thermal waves can propagate with relatively high amplitudes. Herein, we demonstrate the existence and character of these waveforms using three-dimensional finite element modelling based on linearised Navier-Stokes equations. We investigate single particles and small clusters of particles, validating the expected thermal wavelength and the power dissipation due to viscous and thermal effects around the particle. The energy lost due to thermal and viscous dissipation is explored as a function of the average separation distance between the particles (linking to concentration) as well as the applied frequency. The determination of energy loss provides a new method for calculating the attenuation in particle systems. We demonstrate that the effective attenuation of an emulsion in which particles exist in clusters is influenced by the interparticle separation within the cluster, even at the same total particle concentration. Thus, the finite element modelling provides evidence for thermal interactions and their effect in correlated particle systems.


The authors thank the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) of the United Kingdom for funding under grant number EP/M026302/1.



  • Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering


  • Chemical Engineering

Published in

Scientific Reports




FORRESTER, M. and PINFIELD, V.J., 2018. The absorption of ultrasound in emulsions: computational modelling of thermal effects. Scientific Reports, 8, Article number: 12486.


Nature Publishing Group © The Author(s)


VoR (Version of Record)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: by/4.0/

Acceptance date


Publication date



This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit