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In chemistry, the study of sonochemistry is concerned with understanding the effect of sonic waves and wave properties on chemical systems. Since acoustic waves have unique physical properties, the corresponding atomic and molecular chemistry is unique as well. Often these effects are most apparent in ultrasonic systems. This is demonstrated in phenomena such as ultrasound, sonication, sonoluminescence and sonic cavitation.

For example, in chemical kinetics, it has been observed that ultrasound can greatly enhance chemical reactivity in a number of systems; effectively acting as a catalyst by exciting the atomic and molecular modes of the system (such as the vibrational, rotational, and translational modes). In addition, in reactions that use solids, ultrasound breaks up the solid pieces from the energy released from the bubbles created by cavitation collapsing through them. This gives the solid reactant a larger surface area for the reaction to proceed over, increasing the observed rate of reaction. Ultrasound produces radicals in liquids due to the high temperatures and pressures experienced locally when a bubble collapses.

While the application of ultrasound often generates mixtures of products, a paper published in 2007 in the journal Nature described the use of ultrasound to selectively effect a certain cyclobutane ring-opening reaction.[1]

Sonochemistry can be performed by using a bath (usually used for ultrasonic cleaning) or with a high power probe.

See also


  1. ^ "Brute Force Breaks Bonds", Chemical & Engineering News, 22 Mar 2007. 
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Sonochemistry". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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