The properties of thin layers of materials can be different from those in the bulk form. The response of a coating to any given load and its ability to remain bonded to the substrate will depend on its elastic modulus and Poisson's ratio. In this study a measurement method based on ultrasonic bulk wave reflection was evaluated. As a model system, a thin layer of polyethylene was pressed between two solid steel bodies. The reflection spectra of longitudinal and shear ultrasonic waves were recorded from the coating. The frequencies at which the layer resonates were measured and from this the wave speeds deduced. The Poisson's ratio can be determined from these two wave speeds and if the layer thickness is known the modulus is also available. The tests yielded reasonable values for both. This approach is only suitable if the layer can be made to resonate by the available ultrasonic frequencies; typically this will be the case for thicker coatings (tens of microns). Further, good coupling between the layer material and the steel bodies is necessary so that the interfaces do not themselves act to reflect ultrasound. This is better achieved with a smooth soft coating
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