It’s in the realm of imagination,but British scientists claim that it may soon be possible to create a Harry Potter-style “invisibility cloak” which could be used to protect buildings from earthquakes.
A team at Manchester University says that the prospect of making objects invisible to certain wavelengths in limited circumstances has become more realistic in recent years,and a similar approach could be used to defend structures against earthquakes and other natural disasters.
In the same way that cloaking devices make objects appear invisible by deflecting light around them,the scientists say that pressurised rubber could be used to “hide” structures from shock waves produced by earthquakes,sending them around the structure rather than through it.
According to team leader Dr William Parnell,the technique could protect nuclear power plants,electric pylons and government buildings from natural disasters or terrorist attacks,’The Daily Telegraph’ reported.
“Significant progress has been made,both theoretically and practically in the area of cloaking. 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. 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,” Dr Parnell wrote in the ‘Proceedings of the Royal Society A’ journal.