A set of ultrasonic experimental methods was developed to characterize a multiple scattering medium in terms of ls, l∗, la, respectively, the elastic, transport, and absorption mean free paths and D the diffusion constant. Actually, these quantities are the key parameters for a wave propagating in a disordered medium. Although they are widely used in optics, they are less common in acoustics. The underlying model is based on the expansion of the average solution for the heterogeneous Green’s function equation. To validate this theoretical approach, a sample made of randomly located steel rods was used as a prototype. Through time-resolved measurements of the transmitted amplitude, the difference between the ballistic and the coherent wave is highlighted. In varying the sample thickness, ls is determined, the coherent and diffusive regime are distinguished, and the transition from one to the other is followed. Furthermore, as a limit to a description of the average intensity based on the diffusion approximation, the existence of a coherent backscattering effect is shown. This latter gives a method to estimate D and l∗. These quantities being determined, it becomes possible to infer la using average time-resolved intensity measurements. Finally, some applications to coarse-grain stainless steels are discussed. © 2000 Acoustical Society of America.