Stress fractures occur in bones of athletes and soldiers due to the accumulation of microcracks [1]. Detection of precursor acoustic emissions (i.e. ultrasonic stress waves) resulting from microcrack activity may help predict failure onset before continuous physiological activity results in full-blown fracture. An acoustic emission wave generated from a microcrack in bone will be diminished by dispersion, mode separation, reflection, and viscous losses induced by the biological tissues (skin, muscle, fat) between the source and the transducer. While others have recorded waves emanating from unknown loci in human knee in vivo using acoustic emission method [2], there is no means to appreciate how far these waves can travel in the body. Several studies have characterized the ultrasound attenuation in bone [3] and muscle analog homogenates [4] in the frequency range above 300 kHz. On the other hand, acoustic emissions are prominent in the range of 20 kHz to 300 kHz. The current study focused on identifying the attenuation of acoustic emission waves in bone and muscle tissues in a frequency range which is more relevant to acoustic emissions. This information is critical for predicting whether an emission of certain magnitude at the source can reach surface mounted sensors without being totally attenuated.

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