Blasts

Dashing the dream of ideal ‘invisibility’ cloaks for stress waves

Roman arenas have survived in many earthquake-prone regions. Did the Romans inadvertently build seismic wave cloaks when they designed colosseums? Some researchers believe they did due to the arenas' resemblance to modern experimental elastodynamic cloaking devices. (Photo: Paolo Costa Baldi via Wikimedia Commons)

Whether Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, which perfectly steers light waves around objects to make them invisible, will ever become reality remains to be seen, but perfecting a more crucial cloak is impossible, a new study says. It would have perfectly steered stress waves in the ground, like those emanating from a blast, around objects like buildings to make them “untouchable.”

Friday, June 7, 2019

Shocking experiences keep Nylen going back for more

Ph.D. student and Sandia National Labs intern Rebecca Nylen kneels next to blasted steel cylinders, some of her handy work as a computational shock physicist. (Photo: Randy Montoya, Sandia National Laboratories)

If you didn’t know better, you’d think Rebecca Nylen had a terrible start to her summer internship.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Yavari’s new project will lay a mathematical foundation for cloaking structures

Professor Arash Yavari stands in front of his packed bookcase in his Mason Building office. Yavari has embarked upon a four-year research project to lay the mathematical foundations for cloaking structures from earthquakes and other stress waves. (Photo: Jess Hunt-Ralston)

Can you hide a building from a stress wave, like an earthquake or even some kind of blast or explosion? If that kind of “cloaking” were possible, it could shape how we design critical structures like nuclear power plants. Arash Yavari has started a new four-year, half-million dollar federally funded project to lay the mathematical foundations for that kind of technology and explore if it’s theoretically possible while still respecting the laws of physics.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Pezzola wins Defense Department fellowship and a guaranteed job after graduation

Genevieve Pezzola

Doctoral degree paid for? Job after graduation? Ph.D. student Genevieve Pezzola can check both of those items off her to-do list this week after learning she has received a fellowship from the U.S. Department of Defense.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A Booming Career

Assistant Professor Lauren Stewart in her lab.

Walking toward Lauren Stewart’s office, you immediately smell the odor of glue in the air. A quick glance around reveals model bridges in various states of completion lying about a student work area as harried undergraduates work to finish class assignments. Stewart, an assistant professor in civil and environmental engineering, teaches a beginning structures course, so this is a recurrent theme each semester. Stewart herself, however, is more at home with the smell of explosives and destruction rather than construction.

Monday, April 11, 2016
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