It could be used to create cloaks to protect buildings and structures
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.
Bookmark this page for “invisibility cloak” and check back regularly as these articles update on a very frequent basis. The view is set to “news”. Try clicking on “video” and “2” for more articles.