Three Dimensional Finite Element Simulations of an Ultrasonic Cleaning Bath with Model Verification

S. Gardner and J.P. Lewis (UK)


Finite Element, Ultrasonic cleaning, Modelling, simulation and verification


Ultrasonic vessels are widely utilised in both medical and industrial settings for cleaning a variety of contaminated objects. Standing wave patterns that occur in ultrasonic vessels are reported to affect cleaning efficacy by subjecting objects immersed in an ultrasonic field to ‘hotspots’ and ‘dead zones’ in cavitational activity that are at present only determined by practical examination. A paper is presented that utilises a finite element (FE) approach and the Helmholtz solution to the wave equation to create a three dimensional model of an ultrasonic cleaning vessel tracking pressure amplitude variation. Time harmonic analysis of the model predicts a number of stationary maxima and minima (standing waves) predicting some regions of high cavitational activity and others with little cavitational activity on the tank scale. Validation of the simulation is performed using both a commercially available ultrasonic energy meter and foil ablation testing with practical results demonstrating a high degree of correlation with the simulation results. Limitations of the current model and implications of the research for future ultrasonic vessel prototyping and development are discussed.

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