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The article presents the results of a recent investigation on the ultrasonic performance of 1-3 piezocomposites. Using a guided wave approach, the electromechanical properties of the thickness resonance are modeled and the results are compared with the experimental data. The influence of various losses in a 1-3 composite on the dispersion curves and the quality factor for the thickness mode is examined. It is found that the reduction in the quality factor of a composite compared with piezoceramic is mainly due to the acoustic coupling between the two constituents. Even for a composite with the mechanical Q of the polymer higher than that of the ceramic, the mechanical Q of the composite is still lower than that of the ceramic except when the ceramic volume content is very low. Hence, in most of piezoceramic polymer composites, the mechanical Q of the ceramic phase plays a major role in determining the quality factor of a 1-3 composite transducer. For the lateral modes in a 1-3 composite, it is found experimentally that the frequencies of the two lowest lateral modes can be determined approximately by the shear wave velocity and the width of the polymer gap over a broad ceramic volume fraction range, suggesting that they correspond to the half-wave standing waves in the polymer gap. © 1999 American Institute of Physics.