There is a growing interest in multifunctional composites and in the identification of novel applications for recycled materials. In this work, the design and fabrication of multiple particle-loaded polymer composites, including micronized rubber from end-of-life tires, is studied. The integration of these composites as part of ultrasonic transducers can further expand the functionality of the piezoelectric material in the transducer in terms of sensitivity, bandwidth, ringing and axial resolution and help to facilitate the fabrication and use of phantoms for echography. The adopted approach is a multiphase and multiscale one, based on a polymeric matrix with a load of recycled rubber and tungsten powders. A fabrication procedure, compatible with transducer manufacturing, is proposed and successfully used. We also proposed a modelling approach to calculate the complex elastic modulus, the ultrasonic damping and to evaluate the relative influence of particle scattering. It is concluded that it is possible to obtain materials with acoustic impedance in the range 2.35–15.6 MRayl, ultrasound velocity in the range 790–2570 m/s, attenuation at 3 MHz, from 0.96 up to 27 dB/mm with a variation of the attenuation with the frequency following a power law with exponent in the range 1.2–3.2. These ranges of values permit us to obtain most of the material properties demanded in ultrasonic engineering.
Vicente Genovés1, María Dolores Fariñas1, Roberto Pérez Aparicio2, Leticia Saiz-Rodríguez2, Juan López Valentín, Tomás Gómez Álvarez-Arenas1
1 Instituto de Tecnologías Físicas y de la Información, Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), 28006 Madrid, Spain
2 Signus Ecovalor, S.L., 28033 Madrid, Spain