Study of Elastic Modulus Determination of Polymers with Ultrasonic Method

Firmansyah Sasmita, Tania Zefanya S. Tarigan, Hermawan Judawisastra, Toni Agung Priambodo


Elastic modulus is one of the mechanical properties of the material that often used in industry or research field as a benchmark to determine materials’ performance in term of withstanding load without being deformed. Destructive testing is perpetually used to determine this property. However, destructive testing needs a sample, and in situ testing is implausible. Various types of materials are used in the production process of the industry, e.g., polymers. Polymers have time-dependent properties, which can result in high variety value. By principle, ultrasonic inspection, which depends on sound velocity and density of materials, can be used to determine elastic modulus. Ultrasonic test with through-transmission method has been studied to determine elastic modulus and dynamic elastic modulus for polymers. For the sake of quality control and engineering design, ultrasonic pulse-echo contact is preferable. Ultrasonic testing was conducted with GE USM 35X device, which is a Pulse-Echo method and also contact method type of ultrasonic testing machine. Experiments were conducted on several types of polymers with frequency and thickness as experiment parameters. With an input of specimens’ thickness, materials’ sound velocity (ν) could be obtained. Thus results of ν were counted to attain the elastic modulus. Comparison between ultrasonic testing results and mechanical testing results of polymers’ elastic modulus were performed to analyze the data. In this research, elastic modulus value obtained from the ultrasonic test has a profound error, up to 65% (minimum) and 388% (maximum), especially for a polymer with an eminently low density. Further research should be conducted because of the attenuation effect. Also, lower probe frequency eases the detection of alternating ultrasonic wave. Specimens’ thickness adjusted with near-field calculation can eliminate the near-field effect, which is a natural phenomenon of the ultrasonic wave. However, it would not have yielded an accurate value because an excessive thickness will give an attenuation effect.


ultrasonic; elastic modulus; polymers; attenuation; near field.

Full Text:



Callister, W. D., Jr. and Rethwisch, D. G., Materials Science and Engineering: An Introduction, 8th ed., New Jersey, USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2010.

D. V. Boeri, and J. C. Adamowski, “Ultrasonic Immersion Techniques for the Measurement of Elastic Constants in Fiber-Reinforced Composites,” in Proceedings of COBEM (18th International Congress of Mechanical Engineering, Ouro Preto), 2005.

D. V. Rosato, M. G. Rosato, and N. R. Schott, Plastics Technology Handbook, 1st vol., New York, USA: Momentum Press, 2010.

M. Chanda and S. K. Roy, Plastics Technology Handbook, 4th ed., Florida, USA: Taylor & Francis Group, LLC, 2006.

ASM Handbook. Volume 17, Nondestructive Evaluation and Quality Control. Metals Park, Ohio: ASM International, 1989.

J. Krautkramer and H. Krautkramer, Ultrasonic Testing of Materials, 4th ed., New York, USA: Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg GmbH, 1990.

D. K. Pandey and S. Pandey, “Ultrasonics: A Technique of Material Characterization,” in Acoustic Waves, edited by D. W. Dissanayake, Rijeka, Croatia: Sciyo, 2010.

D. Ensminger and L. J. Bond. Ultrasonics: Fundamentals, Technologies, and Applications, 3rd ed., Boca Raton: USA: CRC Press, 2012.

C. J. Hellier, Handbook of Non-destructive Evaluation, New York, USA: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2012.

L. Nobile and S. Nobile. “Some recent advances of ultrasonic diagnostic methods applied to materials and structures (including biological ones),” in Physics Procedia, vol. 70, pp. 681 – 685, 2015.

R. E. Newnham, Properties of Materials: Anisotropy, Symmetry, Structure, 1st ed., New York, USA: Oxford University Press Inc., 2005.

Standard Practice for Measuring Ultrasonic Velocity in Materials, ASTM Std. E 494, 1995 (R01).

E. E. Franco, J. M. Meza, and F. Buiochi, “Measurement of Elastic Properties of Materials by the Ultrasonic Through-Transmission Technique,” Dyna rev.fac.nac.minas, Medellín, vol. 78, no. 168, pp. 58–64, Aug. 2011.

P. D. Davidse, H. I. Waterman, and J. B. Westerdijk, “Sound Velocity and Young's Modulus in Polyethylene.” Journal of Polymer Science, vol. 59, no. 168, pp. 389–400, 1962.

M. H. M. A. Tan, N. L. T. Lile, F. Mat, and S. Yaacob, “Elastic Characterization of Glass by Modal Analysis,” International Journal on Advanced Science, Engineering and Information Technology, vol. 2, No. 3, pp. 26–28, 2012.

F. Lionetto and A. Maffezzoli, “Polymer Characterization by Ultrasonic Wave Propagation,” Advances in Polymer Technology, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 63–73, 2008.

J. E. Mark, Physical Properties of Polymers Handbook, 2nd ed., New York: USA, Springer, 2007.

H. A. Afifi, “Ultrasonic Pulse Echo Studies of the Physical Properties of PMMA, PS, and PVC,” Polymer-Plastics Technology and Engineering, vol. 42, no. 2, pp. 193–205, 2003.

Standard Test Method for Tensile Properties of Plastics, ASTM Std. D 638, 2003.

F. Sasmita, G. Wibisono, H. Judawisastra, and T. A. Priambodo, “Determination of Elastic Modulus of Ceramics Using Ultrasonic Testing”, in AIP Conference Proceedings, vol. 1945, 020017, 2018 (doi: 10.1063/1.5030239).

USM 35X: Technical Reference and Operating Manual (ID. 48 001), GE, Issue 08, 03/2011.

P. Renzel. (2016) GE-Krautkramer NDT Ultrasonic Systems homepage on [Online]. Available:



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Published by INSIGHT - Indonesian Society for Knowledge and Human Development