‘Invisibility cloak’ could hide ships from waves.
University of California researchers have come up with a theory to ‘cloak’ ships from the the up and down motion of waves. If proven and developed, it could mean an end to costly delays around bad weather for ships.
Here’s how the proposed cloak would work. In an ocean, water typically stratifies into layers. The top layer is warmer and lighter, while the bottom layer is cooler and more dense. Waves, of course, ripple along the top of the water. But they also ripple between those two layers — and those waves are known as “interfacial” waves.
Scientists figured they could help protect vessels from turbulent seas by turning surface waves — the ones that get rocky and cause all kinds of shipboard havoc — into those interfacial waves. Using computer simulation, they modeled a process of laying down a carefully sculpted section of ripples along the ocean floor in front of the object in question (a sailboat or an offshore oil rig, let’s say). The transfer of energy between that sea floor section and the waves above — both interfacial and surface — would create a sort of “wave vector,” in the words of Science Magazine.
Because the technology at this stage needs to be deployed to the ocean floor, it could possibly be used to protect off shore oil rigs from damage.