Cloaking Technology to Protect Buildings from Earthquakes

03/20/2012 |

No longer used just for tires and flooring, new research suggests rubber can protect buildings from earthquake damage.

It sounds stranger than fiction, but University of Manchester mathematicians have developed a theory for a building invisibility cloak, which would protect key structures from earthquakes and terrorist attacks, including nuclear power plants, government facilities, and electric pylons.

Cloaking components of buildings with pressurized rubber would prevent the powerful waves produced by an earthquake or attack from “seeing” the structure. The waves would pass around the building, preventing any serious damage. This cloaking technology also allows an object to become nearly invisible to waves of all kinds, such as light, sound, and vibration.

“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,” explains research team leader Dr. William Parnell in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A, a publication for physical sciences.

While a real-world product is some years off, this invisibility cloaking technology could be instrumental in protecting crucial buildings and facilities from structural damage and loss of life.


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