Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Steps Towards Warship Invisibility

Date:
March 2, 2008
Source:
Institute of Physics
Summary:
Naval warships might look like all-powerful vessels but they are also highly vulnerable to being spotted by the enemy. That fear of being detected has led the military to develop new stealth technologies that allow ships to be virtually invisible to the human eye, to dodge roaming radars, put heat-seeking missiles off the scent, disguise their own sound vibrations and even reduce the way they distort the Earth's magnetic field.

Naval warships might look like all-powerful vessels but they are also highly vulnerable to being spotted by the enemy. That fear of being detected has led the military to develop new stealth technologies that allow ships to be virtually invisible to the human eye, to dodge roaming radars, put heat-seeking missiles off the scent, disguise their own sound vibrations and even reduce the way they distort the Earth's magnetic field, as senior lecture in remote sensing and sensors technology at Britannia Royal Navy College, Chris Lavers, explains in March's Physics World.

Wars throughout the twentieth century prompted advances in stealth technologies. Some of the earliest but most significant strides towards invisibility involved covering ships with flamboyant cubist patterns -- a technique known as "dazzle painting". During the Second World War, the US military even worked out a way of using lights to make the brightness of a ship match that of the background sea.

When British physicist Robert Watson Watt was charged with designing a 'death ray' to destroy entire towns and cities during the Second World War, he calculated it impossible. He did conclude however that radio waves could be used to detect ships and aircrafts too far way to be seen by the naked eye.

Radar was born. For ships to dodge radar, both a ship's geometry and a ship's coating have to be considered. Radars are particularly receptive to right angles, which is why modern battleships are often peculiarly shaped. Special paint and foam-coating have also been used to cover ships, which convert radio-waves into heat and stop radio waves being reflected, rendering the signals useless.

The "stealthiest" ship that currently exists is Sweden's Visby Corvette. Apart from being painted in grey dazzle camouflage and made of low-radar reflectivity materials, it also does not use propellers, which are the noisiest part of a ship. The vessel also has the lowest "magnetic signature" of any current warship.

But the next generation of warships could be truly invisible by exploiting "metamaterials" -- artificially engineered structures first dreamt up by physicist John Pendry at Imperial College, London. Metamaterials are tailored to have specific electromagnetic properties not found in nature. In particular, they can bend light around an object, making it appear to an observer as though the waves have passed through empty space.

About the research, Chris Lavers writes, "If optical and radar metamaterials could be developed, they might provide a way to make a ship invisible to both human observers and radar systems, although the challenges of building a cloak big enough to hide an entire ship are huge."



Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institute of Physics. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Institute of Physics. "Steps Towards Warship Invisibility." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080229103717.htm>.
Institute of Physics. (2008, March 2). Steps Towards Warship Invisibility. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080229103717.htm
Institute of Physics. "Steps Towards Warship Invisibility." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080229103717.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

AP (July 24, 2014) TSA administrator, John Pistole's took part in the Aspen Security Forum 2014, where he answered questions on lifting of the ban on flights into Israel's Tel Aviv airport and whether politics played a role in lifting the ban. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

TheStreet (July 23, 2014) When The Deal's Amanda Levin exclusively reported that Gas Natural had been talking to potential suitors, the Ohio company responded with a flat denial, claiming its board had not talked to anyone about a possible sale. Lo and behold, Canadian utility Algonquin Power and Utilities not only had approached the company, but it did it three times. Its last offer was for $13 per share as Gas Natural's was trading at a 60-day moving average of about $12.50 per share. Now Algonquin, which has a 4.9% stake in Gas Natural, has taken its case to shareholders, calling on them to back its proposals or, possibly, a change in the target's board. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

AP (July 23, 2014) 'Ray' the robotic parking valet at Dusseldorf Airport in Germany lets travelers to avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot before heading to the check-in desk. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins