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: Exploring X-ray phase tomography with synchrotron radiation

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Backpack physics: Smaller hikers carry heavier loads

1 hour ago

Hikers are generally advised that the weight of the packs they carry should correspond to their own size, with smaller individuals carrying lighter loads. Although petite backpackers might appreciate the ...

Extremely high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging

1 hour ago

For the first time, researchers have succeeded to detect a single hydrogen atom using magnetic resonance imaging, which signifies a huge increase in the technology's spatial resolution. In the future, single-atom ...

'Attosecond' science breakthrough

2 hours ago

Scientists from Queen's University Belfast have been involved in a groundbreaking discovery in the area of experimental physics that has implications for understanding how radiotherapy kills cancer cells, among other things.

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.