New Material Breakthrough Takes Control of Earthquakes

Being able to control or even harness the power from earthquakes sounds like a science fiction fantasy, however researchers at the University of Missouri have moved one step closer towards making this a reality. This invention has the possibility to greatly benefit and innovate numerous industries and fields of human endeavor.

Recently at the University of Missouri researchers developed a new way to control elastic waves. To clarify, elastic waves is the classification given to the energy and forces that can travel through materials while causing minimal to no changes to the material’s structure. These waves are most commonly noticed as sound waves, ripples on a body of water or seismic waves triggered by an earthquake.

To take advantage of these unexploited energies the research team at MU developed and fabricated a geometric microstructure, engraved into a steel plate, allowing it to bend or refract elastic waves away from itself.  Such as the catastrophic forces caused by earthquakes and tsunamis. Thus steel was chosen for this first production, because of its widespread use in the built environment, however other metals, and even plastics, can be engineered to similar effect.

As research and development continues on this material breakthrough, new doors will be opened furthering the wellness and security of our society. Through it’s possible use in the infrastructure of our world, strengthening our buildings, to benefits in health care devices and military security. Given the time and money, significant advancements and innovations are on the horizon for our society.    huang-metamaterial

Sources:

MU College of Engineering – http://engineering.missouri.edu/2015/01/associate-professor-finds-breakthrough-in-negative-elastic-wave-refraction/

MU News Bureau –  http://munews.missouri.edu/news-releases/2015/0122-scientists-%E2%80%98bend%E2%80%99-acoustic-and-elastic-waves-with-new-metamaterials-that-could-have-commercial-applications/

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