Improving the thermal dimensional stability of flexible polymer composite backing materials for ultrasound transducers

Mihai State, Peter J. Brands*, Frans N. van de Vosse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Novel ultrasound backing materials based on polymer composites with improved dimensional stability and low coefficient of thermal expansion are being developed and analyzed. For this purpose a filled epoxy resin (Stycast(1265)), a commonly used backing material, was considered reference material and polyurethane composites (PU(2305), PU(2350)) were proposed as better alternatives. When compared to the reference, the PU(2350) filled with a mixture of Al(2)O(3) and tungsten exhibited an approximately 15 times lower glassy transition temperature and a 2.5 time lower longitudinal thermal expansion at 20 degrees C. This ensures that within the entire operational temperature range the backing material is flexible, minimizing the thermal stresses induced onto transducer elements soldered joints and piezoceramic core. For the same material, the attenuation at 5MHz was similar to the reference material while at 7 and 8.5MHz it was 33% and 54% higher respectively. From these analyses it is concluded that the newly developed polyurethane composites outperform the reference backing with respect to the thermal dimensional stability as well as to the damping properties. An integrated rigorous mechano-acoustical approach is being proposed as an appropriate passive material design path. It can be easily extended to any other passive materials used for ultrasound transducer conception.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)458-466
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010


  • Ultrasound backing materials
  • Polymer composites
  • Thermal expansion
  • Ultrasound attenuation
  • Dynamic mechanical analysis

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