ERJ staff report (DS)
Manchester, UK - Mathematicians at the UK's University of Manchester are working on a theory which might make buildings invisible to earthquake displacements.
Writing in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A, Dr William Parnell has shown that by cloaking components of structures with pressurised rubber, powerful waves such as those produced by an earthquake would not 'see' the building - they would simply pass around the structure and thus prevent serious damage or destruction. The building, or important components within it, could theoretically be 'cloaked'.
â€œWe 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.
The associated paper, â€œNonlinear pre-stress for cloaking from antiplane elastic wavesâ€, by Parnell, William J., 2012, is published in Proc. Roy. Soc. A 468: 563-580, doi:10.1098/rspa.2011.0477
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Press release from University of Manchester