Engineers have designed a new kind of artificial reef

Engineers have designed a new kind of artificial reef

Engineers have designed a new kind of artificial reef

Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created an artificial reef. This design imitates the wave-dampening characteristics of coral reefs and includes spaces for marine life. The structure can reduce over 95 percent of the energy from incoming waves while using significantly less material than usual.

MIT Professor Michael Triantafyllou states:

“This would be like a long wave-breaker. If waves are 6 meters high coming toward this reef structure, they would be ultimately less than a meter high on the other side. So, this kills the impact of the waves, which could prevent erosion and flooding.”

While certain areas have constructed artificial reefs by sinking ships or putting together arrangements of concrete, metal, tires, and stones, the diversity in these artificial reef types indicates a lack of standardized engineering protocols for such constructions.

The team from MIT sought to develop an artificial reef capable of efficiently dissipating wave energy using fewer materials, while also serving as a sanctuary for fish along any endangered coastline.

Triantafyllou commented:

“Remember, natural coral reefs are only found in tropical waters. We cannot have these reefs, for instance, in Massachusetts. But architected reefs don’t depend on temperature, so they can be placed in any water, to protect more coastal areas.”

Details of the engineered reef were reported in a paper appearing in the journal PNAS Nexus.

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