Tsunami Invisibility Cloak

September 26, 2008
Laboratory experiments show that obstacles arranged in fluids in certain patterns can effectively make objects they surround invisible to waves. If it works as well in in scaled-up versions, it could lead to new ways to protect ocean-based platforms and coasts from devastating tsunamis. Credit: M. Farhat, S. Enoch, S. Guenneau and A.B. Movchan

Rather than building stronger ocean-based structures to withstand tsunamis, it might be easier to simply make the structures disappear.

A collaboration of physicists from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and Aix-Marseille Universite in France and the University of Liverpool in England have conducted laboratory experiments showing that it's possible to make type of dike that acts as an invisibility cloak that hides off-shore platforms from water waves. The principle is analogous to the optical invisibility cloaks that are currently a hot area of physics research.

Tsunami invisibility cloaks wouldn't make structures disappear from sight, but they could manipulate ocean waves in ways that makes off-shore platforms, and possibly even coastlines and small islands, effectively invisible to tsunamis.

If the scheme works as well in the real world as the lab-scale experiments suggest, a tsunami should be able to pass right by with little or no effect on anything hidden behind the cloak.

Citation: M. Farhat, S. Enoch, S. Guenneau and A.B. Movchan, Physical Review Letters (forthcoming article)

Source: American Physical Society

Explore further: Novel material design for undistorted light waves

Related Stories

Density-near-zero acoustical metamaterial made in China

July 14, 2015

When a sound wave hits an obstacle and is scattered, the signal may be lost or degraded. But what if you could guide the signal around that obstacle, as if the interfering barrier didn't even exist? Recently, researchers ...

Engineers give invisibility cloaks a slimmer design

July 7, 2015

Researchers have developed a new design for a cloaking device that overcomes some of the limitations of existing "invisibility cloaks." In a new study, electrical engineers at the University of California, San Diego have ...

Scientists unravel elusive structure of HIV protein

July 1, 2015

HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, is the retrovirus that leads to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS. Globally, about 35 million people are living with HIV, which constantly adapts and mutates creating challenges ...

Recommended for you

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

superhuman
4 / 5 (1) Sep 26, 2008
Tsunamis have wavelengths on the order of tens of kilometers which makes any such approach completely impractical (as the structures would have to have comparable size).

In other words tsunamis should be thought of more as a temporary increase in water level then big waves.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.