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: Universe may face a darker future

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Invisibility cloaks closer thanks to 'digital metamaterials'

Sep 15, 2014

The concept of "digital metamaterials" – a simple way of designing metamaterials with bizarre optical properties that could hasten the development of devices such as invisibility cloaks and superlenses – is reported in a paper published today in Nature ...

Researchers create 3-D invisibility cloak: study

Mar 18, 2010

European researchers have taken the world a step closer to fictional wizard Harry Potter's invisibility cape after they made an object disappear using a three-dimensional "cloak", a study published Thursday in the US-based ...

Recommended for you

A new generation of storage—ring

35 minutes ago

A bright synchrotron source that emits over a wide part of the electromagnetic spectrum from the infrared to hard X-rays is currently being built in Lund, Sweden. The MAX IV facility presents a range of technical ...

Universe may face a darker future

4 hours ago

New research offers a novel insight into the nature of dark matter and dark energy and what the future of our Universe might be.

High-intensity sound waves may aid regenerative medicine

23 hours ago

Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a way to use sound to create cellular scaffolding for tissue engineering, a unique approach that could help overcome one of regenerative medicine's ...

Formula could shed light on global climate change

Oct 30, 2014

Wright State University researchers have discovered a formula that accurately predicts the rate at which soil develops from the surface to the underlying rock, a breakthrough that could answer questions about ...

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.