Tsunami Invisibility Cloak

Sep 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: Direct visualization of magnetoelectric domains

Related Stories

Ears, grips and fists take on mobile phone user ID

14 hours ago

A research project has been under way to explore a biometric authentication system dubbed Bodyprint, with interesting test results. Bodyprint has been designed to detect users' biometric features using the ...

More than 2,200 confirmed dead in Nepal earthquake

14 hours ago

A powerful aftershock shook Nepal on Sunday, making buildings sway and sending panicked Kathmandu residents running into the streets a day after a massive earthquake left more than 2,200 people dead.

Recommended for you

Direct visualization of magnetoelectric domains

55 minutes ago

A novel microscopy technique called magnetoelectric force microscopy (MeFM) was developed to detect the local cross-coupling between magnetic and electric dipoles. Combined experimental observation and theoretical ...

Upside down and inside out

2 hours ago

Researchers have captured the first 3D video of a living algal embryo turning itself inside out, from a sphere to a mushroom shape and back again. The results could help unravel the mechanical processes at ...

Heat makes electrons spin in magnetic superconductors

Apr 24, 2015

Physicists have shown how heat can be exploited for controlling magnetic properties of matter. The finding helps in the development of more efficient mass memories. The result was published yesterday in Physical Review Le ...

ICARUS neutrino experiment to move to Fermilab

Apr 23, 2015

A group of scientists led by Nobel laureate Carlo Rubbia will transport the world's largest liquid-argon neutrino detector across the Atlantic Ocean from CERN to its new home at the US Department of Energy's ...

User comments : 1

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.