Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Invisibility' cloak could protect buildings from earthquakes

Date:
February 14, 2012
Source:
Manchester University
Summary:
Mathematicians have developed the theory for a Harry Potter style 'cloaking' device which could protect buildings from earthquakes. Scientists have been working on the theory of invisibility cloaks which, until recently, have been merely the subject of science fiction.In recent times, however, scientists have been getting close to achieving 'cloaking' in a variety of contexts. The new work focuses on the theory of cloaking devices which could eventually help to protect buildings and structures from vibrations and natural disasters such as earthquakes.

Earthquake damage. New work focuses on the theory of cloaking devices which could eventually help to protect buildings and structures from vibrations and natural disasters such as earthquakes.
Credit: puckillustrations / Fotolia

University of Manchester mathematicians have developed the theory for a Harry Potter style 'cloaking' device which could protect buildings from earthquakes.

Dr William Parnell's team in the University's School of Mathematics have been working on the theory of invisibility cloaks which, until recently, have been merely the subject of science fiction.

In recent times, however, scientists have been getting close to achieving 'cloaking' in a variety of contexts. The work from the team at Manchester focuses on the theory of cloaking devices which could eventually help to protect buildings and structures from vibrations and natural disasters such as earthquakes.

Writing in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A, Dr Parnell has shown that by cloaking components of structures with pressurised rubber, powerful waves such as those produced by an earthquake would not 'see' the building -- they would simply pass around the structure and thus prevent serious damage or destruction. The building, or important components within it, could theoretically be 'cloaked'.

This 'invisibility' could prove to be of great significance in safeguarding key structures such as nuclear power plants, electric pylons and government offices from destruction from natural or terrorist attacks.

This is one of the latest 'cloaking' technologies to be developed -- a technique which makes an object near-invisible to waves whether they be light, sound or vibration.

The science fiction concept of the Cloak of Invisibility is of course most famously known from the Harry Potter books and films. But according to scientists, the scientific reality is not far behind.

Initial research into cloaking from light waves began about six years ago, but very little work has been done on waves in solid bodies such as waves produced by earthquakes despite its fundamental importance in a number of areas including the protection of buildings and their components.

Dr Parnell said: "Significant progress has been made, both theoretically and practically in the area of cloaking.

"Five or six years ago scientists started with light waves, and in the last few years we have started to consider other wave-types, most importantly perhaps sound and elastic waves. The real problem with the latter is that it is normally impossible to use naturally available materials as cloaks.

"We showed theoretically that pre-stressing a naturally available material -- rubber -- leads to a cloaking effect from a specific type of elastic wave. Our team is now working hard on more general theories and to understand how this theory can be realised in practice.

"This research has shown that we really do have the potential to control the direction and speed of elastic waves. This is important because we want to guide such waves in many contexts, especially in nano-applications such as in electronics for example.

"If the theory can be scaled up to larger objects then it could be used to create cloaks to protect buildings and structures, or perhaps more realistically to protect very important specific parts of those structures."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. W. J. Parnell. Nonlinear pre-stress for cloaking from antiplane elastic waves. Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 2011; 468 (2138): 563 DOI: 10.1098/rspa.2011.0477

Cite This Page:

Manchester University. "'Invisibility' cloak could protect buildings from earthquakes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 February 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120214100817.htm>.
Manchester University. (2012, February 14). 'Invisibility' cloak could protect buildings from earthquakes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120214100817.htm
Manchester University. "'Invisibility' cloak could protect buildings from earthquakes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120214100817.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Argentina's Tax Evaders Detected, Hunted Down by Drones

Argentina's Tax Evaders Detected, Hunted Down by Drones

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) Argentina doesn't only have Lionel Messi the footballer, it has now also acquired "Mesi" the drone system which monitors undeclared mansions, swimming pools and soy fields to curb tax evasion in the country. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) More and more studies are showing positive benefits to playing video games, but the jury is still out on brain training programs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CERN Celebrates 60 Years of Science

CERN Celebrates 60 Years of Science

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 29, 2014) CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, celebrates 60 years of bringing nations together through science. As Joanna Partridge reports from inside the famous science centre it's also planning to turn the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator back on after an upgrade. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
This 'Invisibility Cloak' Is Simpler Than Most

This 'Invisibility Cloak' Is Simpler Than Most

Newsy (Sep. 28, 2014) Researchers from the University of Rochester have created a type of invisibility cloak with simple focal lenses. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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