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Several groups are studying acoustic radiation force and its ability to image the mechanical properties of tissue. Acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) imaging is one modality using standard diagnostic ultrasound scanners to generate localized, impulsive, acoustic radiation forces in tissue. The dynamic response of tissue is measured via conventional ultrasonic speckle-tracking methods and provides information about the mechanical properties of tissue. A finite-element method (FEM) model has been developed that simulates the dynamic response of tissues, with and without spherical inclusions, to an impulsive acoustic radiation force excitation from a linear array transducer. These FEM models were validated with calibrated phantoms. Shear wave speed, and therefore elasticity, dictates tissue relaxation following ARFI excitation, but Poisson's ratio and density do not significantly alter tissue relaxation rates. Increased acoustic attenuation in tissue increases the relative amount of tissue displacement in the near field compared with the focal depth, but relaxation rates are not altered. Applications of this model include improving image quality, and distilling material and structural information from tissue's dynamic response to ARFI excitation. Future work on these models includes incorporation of viscous material properties and modeling the ultrasonic tracking of displaced scatterers.