Invisibility Cloak May Protect Buildings from Earthquakes

02/14/2012 |

Could an invisibility cloak protect buildings from earthquakes?

It sounds stranger than fiction, but University of Manchester mathematicians have developed the theory behind an invisibility cloak for buildings that could be used to protect key structures such as nuclear power plants, government facilities, and electric pylons from earthquakes and terrorist attacks.

How does it work?  Cloaking components of buildings with pressurized rubber would prevent the powerful waves produced by an earthquake from “seeing” the structure.  The waves would pass around the building, preventing any serious damage.

This cloaking technology allows an object to become nearly invisible to waves of all kinds – 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,” says Dr. William Parnell, team leader of the group behind the theory of invisibility cloaking.

It may sound like science fiction fare, but this invisibility cloaking technology could be instrumental in protecting crucial buildings and facilities and prevent catastrophes like the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster that ravaged Japan.

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