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Cloaking Technology Could Protect Offshore Rigs From Destructive Waves 56

cylonlover writes "Recent years have seen much progress in the development of invisibility cloaks which bend light around an object so it can't be seen, but can the same principles be applied to ocean waves that are strong enough to smash steel and concrete? That's the aim of Reza Alam's underwater 'invisibility cloak.' The assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, recently outlined how to use variations of density in ocean water to cloak floating objects from dangerous surface waves."
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Cloaking Technology Could Protect Offshore Rigs From Destructive Waves

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  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Friday November 23, 2012 @01:07AM (#42071131) Journal

    I am perpetually impressed by how useful mathematics derived from a few abstract axioms can actually be in modelling the real world. Further, it is always fascinating to see the strange overlaps where a single mathematical abstraction proves useful in the examination of two seemingly unrelated phenomena...

    It is apparently so; but the idea that waves made of seawater and 'waves' that function as models of certain aspects of the behavior of electromagnetic radiation is always deeply surprising.

  • Interesting (Score:4, Informative)

    by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Friday November 23, 2012 @01:58AM (#42071353) Journal
  • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Friday November 23, 2012 @03:57AM (#42071779) Homepage Journal

    No credentials other than 5 years of sea duty with the US Navy. A few months of that time were spent on "rough seas". At least a month of that were on seas that came close to those described in "The Perfect Storm" - often exceeding 60 feet, and at times exceeding 80 feet. No hundred foot seas for me, 80 was enough.

    Now - are you ready for it?

    Neither the waves nor the swells are very random. I don't believe that anyone can predict them with very much accuracy, as of now, but they are generally predictable. Chop is another matter, entirely. If there is any way to predict chop, I can't imagine what it is. But, chop has very little energy, and has almost zero effect on the stability of a ship, or any other large platform.

    I highly doubt the effectiveness of this cloaking device, but if it is somehow capable of mitigating some of the water's force, then we can and will develop the software to better predict the actions of swells and waves.

    That said - I don't believe any software will be able to take rogues into account. They are named rogues, because they run counter to prevailing seas, seemingly at random.

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