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Focusing sea waves

  1. Jul 21, 2015 #1
    Would it be possible to use diffraction to focus the enrgy of sea waves, on the principle of the zone plate (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zone_plate) but reduced to 2 dimensions? This could be done by an array of wave-opaque objects such as floating breakwaters, particularly along coasts exposed to ocean swells of fairly uniform wavelengths. Tweakable of course by changing the spacing.

    Not only might this save the planet by improving the economic feasibility of wave power electrical generation devices, but more importantly could also make surfing possible on days and in places where otherwise it wouldn't be.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 21, 2015 #2
    Facinating idea. I think the workability will depend strongly on how uniform the wavelengths are and how hard it is to change the grid spacing to adjust the diffraction.

    I also think that floating breakwaters may not work as well as more rigid structures extending well below the surface.
  4. Jul 21, 2015 #3


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  5. Jul 21, 2015 #4


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    I agree. This is a fascinating idea.

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  6. Jul 22, 2015 #5


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    I don't think diffraction will work because the sea waves are not coherent across a wide front. But a curved reflector would work. Similar action can be seen wherever two walls form a corner, giving rough conditions in between.
  7. Jul 22, 2015 #6


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    How wide is your front?
    Are there "fronts" where sea waves are generally coherent?
    I may have to abscond with some friends' and relatives' beachfront homes next summer, and measure that for myself. :wink:
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