Giant Wave Research Breakthrough
Story supplied by LU Press Office
Scientists at Lancaster University working to learn more about the origin of rogue waves in the ocean have learnt that reverse energy flows can cause the phenomenon to happen in the lab. It is the first explanation of giant ocean waves, which could be responsible for many unexplained losses of large ships, to have been successfully tested.
The experiments, funded by the EPSRC, use superfluid helium to exactly mimic how waves naturally behave.
There is intense interest in the origin of giant waves on account of the commercial importance of this extraordinary phenomenon which has been photographed and can be detected and tracked from satellites. Survivors describe a giant wave as being like "a wall of water", perhaps 100 feet or more or more in height.
The results of the experiments astonished the team who discovered that, given the right conditions, wave energy could sometimes flow in the reverse direction leading to production of giant waves in their laboratory. The experiments show that, most of the time, there is a continuous flow of energy towards shorter and shorter wavelengths until, eventually, the resultant tiny "ripples" get destroyed. But exactly the opposite effect can sometimes happen.
The work was carried out by Professor Peter McClintock , Dr Andrei Ganshyn and Dr Victor Efimov in Lancaster University's Physics Department, with collaborators at the Institute of Solid State Physics in Chernogolovka, near Moscow, where much of the preliminary work was carried out.
Their results have been published in Physical Review Letters.
The team are planning more experiments in Lancaster in tandem with the theoretical studies, to further understand the conditions needed to create giant waves.
Fri 05 September 2008
Congratulations to fourth year Physics student, Jorden Senior, for winning first prize for his blog entry into The Ogden Trust’s annual ‘Blogden’ competition.
Fri 20 February 2015
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mark E Smith, recently visited CERN, to see the important research being conducted by Lancaster staff. Joined by Professor Peter Ratoff, Professor Roger Jones and Dr Graeme Burt who are leading CERN based projects, Professor Smith was given a VIP tour of CERN including the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) and the ATLAS Collaboration visitor centre.
Fri 20 February 2015
Lancaster University is enhancing its position as a global leader in cyber security research by agreeing links with Japan’s national ICT institute.
Wed 11 February 2015
'Motorsport Engineering: Fabulous or Frivolous?'
Mon 26 January 2015