Cloaking

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

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
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