Wave energy control device

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First Claim
1. A system for controlling hydroelastic waves on the surface of a liquid (1) comprising a composite structure (10) having at least two zones Z1 and Z2, of respective bending coefficients D1 and D2 defined by the equation:
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Abstract
The present invention relates to a system and device (1000) for controlling hydroelastic surface waves and to the use thereof.
In particular, the invention relates to a system for controlling hydroelastic waves propagating over the surface of a liquid (1), the controlling system comprising a floating composite structure (10) having at least two zones Z1 and Z2 the respective bending coefficients D1 and D2 and/or the shapes of which are adapted to control the propagation of the hydroelastic waves, and for which it is possible to define an index n_{i}, i being equal to 1 or 2, similar to the refractive index of an optical medium.
The controlling system thus allows the propagation of the hydroelastic waves to be able to be controlled by applying the laws of geometric optics.
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11 Claims
 1. A system for controlling hydroelastic waves on the surface of a liquid (1) comprising a composite structure (10) having at least two zones Z1 and Z2, of respective bending coefficients D1 and D2 defined by the equation:
1 Specification
The present application is a filing under 35 U.S.C. 371 as the National Stage of International Application No, PCT/FR2018/050791, filed Mar. 29, 2018, entitled “WAVE ENERGY CONTROL DEVICE” which claims priority to French Application No. FR 1752718 filed with the Intellectual Property Office of France on Mar. 30, 2017 and entitled “WAVE ENERGY CONTROL DEVICE” both of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety for all purposes.
The present invention relates to a system for controlling the energy of waves propagating over the surface of a liquid, and to the use of such a system.
The problem of controlling the energy of waves, in particular in a marine environment, has been studied for several years, in particular in the context of conversion of this energy into electricity.
Systems for controlling the energy of waves do currently exist and are known to those skilled in the art, in particular because of the examples thereof given in the priorart documents: US 2014/0260236 A1, U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,255,066 A and 9,303,617 B2. In the latter, the technologies employed use bathymetric changes (changes in water depth) to control the waves, and these systems propose to construct, under the water, fixed and rigid structures having a particular arrangement.
However, these systems are rarely used on the open sea or near to the coast because they are too expensive, difficult to install, and impossible to move or to remove. In addition, they are usable only in shallow water and turn out to be ineffective ways of harvesting energy.
There is therefore a real need for a system that mitigates these faults, drawbacks and obstacles of the prior art, and in particular for a flexible and movable system that allows the energy of waves to be controlled whatever the depth of the liquid, the cost of manufacture and installation to be decreased, and the harvest of the energy of the waves to be improved with a view to allowing it to be subsequently converted into electricity.
To overcome the aforementioned drawbacks, one subject of the invention is a system for controlling hydroelastic waves on the surface of a liquid comprising a composite structure having at least two zones Z1 and Z2, of respective bending coefficients D1 and D2 defined by the equation:
where E_{i }is the Young'"'"'s modulus of the zone Zi, e_{i }is the thickness of the zone Zi, and v_{i }is the Poisson'"'"'s ratio of the zone Zi, i being equal to 1 or 2, and of internal mechanical tensions T_{1 }and T_{2}, respectively;
 the composite structure being adapted to, when the controlling system is placed on the surface of the liquid such that a hydroelastic surface wave propagates through the first zone Z1 then through the second zone Z2 of the composite structure floating on the surface of the liquid of density ρ, and when the wavelength λ_{i }of the hydroelastic wave respects, in the zone Zi, the following equations:
where g is the universal gravitational constant and i corresponds to the index of the zone Zi through which the hydroelastic wave is propagating, control the behavior of said hydroelastic wave via adjustment of said bending coefficients Di and/or of the shapes of said zones Zi.
So as to produce a compact system, the zones Z1 and Z2 may be contiguous.
Advantageously, the bending coefficients D1 and D2 are different because the zones Z1 and Z2 have different thicknesses e_{i}, and/or because the materials from which the zones Z1 and Z2 are made have different Young'"'"'s moduli E_{i }and/or different Poisson'"'"'s ratios v_{i}.
In order to allow the waves to be controlled gradually, the variation in the bending coefficient between the passage from the zone Z1, of coefficient D1, to the zone Z2, of coefficient D2, is continuous.
Advantageously, it is possible to define the index n_{i }of the zone Zi as being proportional to the inverse of the propagation speed V_{i }of the hydroelastic waves in the zone Zi, the propagation speed V_{i }being defined by the equation:
so that the index n_{i }is equivalent to the refractive index of an optical medium, and such that the laws of geometric optics apply to the propagation of the hydroelastic waves propagating through the zones Zi.
According to these relationships, it is possible to produce a lens. To this end, the system may furthermore comprise a third zone Z3 and such that:
 the zones Z1, Z2 and Z3 are contiguous;
 the zones Z1 and Z3 are of same index n_{1 }different from the index n_{2 }of the zone Z2, Z1 being the arrival zone of the hydroelastic waves and Z3 the exit zone; and
 the shapes of the interfaces between the zones are circular arcs of radius R such that the set {Z1, Z2, Z3} behaves as an optical lens of focal length f defined by the equation:
The lens thus formed by the set {Z1, Z2, Z3} may be convergent if:
 the set has a biconvexlens shape and n_{i}<n_{2}; or if
 the set has a biconcavelens shape and n_{1}>n_{2}.
According to the same relationships, it is possible to deviate a hydroelastic wave in order to protect a device as an optical reflector does. To this end, the controlling system must be such that the zones Z1 and Z2 are contiguous, and of respective indices n_{1 }and n_{2 }respecting the following equations:
the interface between the zones being a right angle the vertex of which is directed toward the side of the zone Z2 so that a hydroelastic wave arriving from the zone Z1 is reflected on contact with the interface between the zones Z1 and Z2 and leaves along an axis parallel to its direction of incidence.
Advantageously, at least one of the zones Zi is composed of a matrix of floating pads that are connected by elastic linking means so that the matrix behaves as an effective zone Zeff_i of effective bending coefficient D_{eff_i }defined by the equation:
where E_{eff_i }is the effective Young'"'"'s modulus of the zone Zeff_i, e_{eff_i }is the effective thickness of the effective zone Zeff_i, and v_{eff_i }is the effective Poisson'"'"'s ratio of the zone Zeff_i, and of effective internal mechanical tension Teff_i, i being equal to 1 or 2; the composite structure being adapted to, when the controlling system is placed on the surface of the liquid such that a hydroelastic surface wave propagates through the first zone Z1 or Zeff_1 then through the second zone Z2 or Zeff_2 of the composite structure floating on the surface of the liquid of density ρ, and when the wavelength λ_{i }of the hydroelastic wave propagating through the zone Zi, respects the following equations:
and the effective wavelength λ_{eff_i }of the wave propagating through the effective zone Zeff_i respects the following equations:
where g is the universal gravitational constant and i corresponds to the index of the zone Zi or Zeff_i through which the hydroelastic wave is propagating, control the behavior of said hydroelastic wave via adjustment of said bending coefficients Di or D_{eff_i }and/or of the shapes of said zones Zi or Zeff_i.
According to a second aspect, the invention relates to the use of a lenstype system for controlling hydroelastic waves on the surface of a liquid, such as defined above, to harvest the energy of waves propagating on the surface of a liquid such that the composite structure of the system for controlling the waves is adapted to focus the hydroelastic waves on a point.
According to another aspect, the invention relates to the use of a reflectortype system for controlling waves on the surface of a liquid, such as defined above, to protect a device possessing a portion in contact with the surface of the liquid, the composite structure of the controlling system being adapted to protect the portion in contact with the surface of the liquid and reflecting the hydroelastic waves that would otherwise reach the device.
The invention will be better understood on reading the following description, which is given merely by way of example, and with reference to the appended figures, in which:
Waves propagating over the surface of a liquid are called gravitycapillary waves. The frequency ω of these waves is related to their wavelength λ by the following gravitycapillary dispersion relationship:
where:
g is the universal gravitational constant;
k is the wave number defined by:
σ is the surface tension of the liquid; and
ρ is the density of the liquid.
A—the capillarity (or tension) regime at short wavelengths λ; and
B—the gravitational regime at long wavelengths λ.
In the capillarity (or tension) regime, the predominant mechanical restoring force acting on the waves is the surface tension of the liquid whereas in the gravitational regime, it is the force of gravity that predominates.
The wavelength that separates these two regimes is called the gravitycapillary length λ_{gc }and is equal to:
When a film of elastic material is deposited on the surface of the liquid and no other force than that exerted by the liquid on the film is applied, the dispersion relationship of the wave changes and becomes:
where:
T is the internal mechanical tension of the film of elastic material, which in this case is equal to the surface tension σ of the liquid;
D is the bending modulus of the film applied to the liquid; and
H is the height of liquid present under the film.
The bending modulus is for its part defined by equation E5:
where:
E is the Young'"'"'s modulus of the film;
e is the thickness of the film; and
v is the Poisson'"'"'s ratio of the film.
C—the bending regime or the hydroelasticwave regime in which the dominant mechanical restoring force is that of the film of elastic material.
Thus, hydroelastic waves are waves the wavelength λ, of which respects the following equations:
It comprises a composite structure 10 comprising two zones Z1 and Z2, of respective bending coefficients D1 and D2 defined by equation E5a:
where:
Ei is the Young'"'"'s modulus of the zone Zi,
e_{i }is the thickness of the zone Zi, and
v_{i }is the Poisson'"'"'s coefficient of the zone Zi
i being equal to 1 or 2, and of internal mechanical tensions T1 and T2, respectively.
The composite structure 10 is adapted to, when the controlling system is placed on the surface of the liquid 1 such that a hydroelastic surface wave propagates in the direction 20, namely through the first zone Z1 then through the second zone Z2 of the composite structure 10 floating on the surface of the liquid 1 of density ρ, and when the wavelength λ_{i }of the hydroelastic wave respects, in the zone Zi, equations E6a and E7a:
where g corresponds to the universal gravitational constant and i corresponds to the index of the zone Zi through which the hydroelastic wave is propagating, control the behavior of the hydroelastic wave.
In the bending regime, the hydroelastic waves are therefore subjected to the force applied by the composite structure on the surface of the liquid, this allowing the propagation of these waves to be controlled via the choice of the material used (and therefore of the Young'"'"'s moduli E_{1 }and E_{2 }and the Poisson'"'"'s ratios v_{1 }and v_{2}) in the zones Z1 and Z2, the thickness e_{i }of these zones and/or also the shape of these zones.
So as to obtain a compact system, but also in order to facilitate the manufacture of the composite structure 10, in particular in the case where the zones Z1 and Z2 are made of the same material, the zones Z1 and Z2 may be contiguous as illustrated in
Advantageously, the bending coefficients D1 and D2 are different, the zones Z1 and Z2 having different thicknesses e_{i}, and/or the zones Z1 and Z2 being made of materials having different Young'"'"'s moduli E_{i }and/or different Poisson'"'"'s ratios v_{i}.
In order to allow the hydroelastic waves to be gradually controlled and also to facilitate the manufacture of the composite structure 10, the variation in the bending coefficient between the passage from the zone Z1, of coefficient D1, to the zone Z2, of coefficient Z2, may be continuous, the thickness of the material used to produce the zones Z1 and Z2 for example being gradually varied.
To draw a parallel with optics, it is possible to define an index n_{i }of the zone Zi as being proportional to the inverse of the propagation speed Vi of the hydroelastic waves in the zone Zi. The propagation speed Vi is defined by equation E8:
so that the index n_{i }is equivalent to the refractive index of an optical medium, and such that the laws of geometric optics apply to the propagation of the hydroelastic waves propagating through the zones Zi.
Thus, it is possible to define composite structures having the same behavior as the optical elements but for hydroelastic waves only.
According to the embodiment shown in
According to the definition of the index n_{i }as being proportional to the inverse of the propagation speed Vi of the hydroelastic waves through the zone Zi, the ratio of the indices of the zones Z1 and Z2 may be expressed as below:
Thus if e_{1}<e_{2 }then n_{1}>n_{2}. According to the laws of geometric optics, in particular Snell'"'"'s law:
n_{1 }sin i_{1}=n_{2 }sin i_{2} (E10)
with i_{1 }being the angle of incidence of the beam with respect to the normal to the dioptric interface formed between Z1 and Z2, and i_{2 }being the angle of exit of the beam with respect to the normal to the dioptric interface: n_{1}>n_{2 }is equivalent to saying i_{2}>i_{1}.
In this experiment, the incident plane hydroelastic wave of direction k_{1 }propagates through the zone Z1 then through the zone Z2. The direction k_{2 }of the hydroelastic wave in this zone Z2 indeed diverges from the normal N at the interface between the zones Z1 and Z2, namely i_{2}>i_{1}.
According to the laws of geometric optics, an incident plane hydroelastic wave the direction k_{1 }of which makes an angle i_{i }larger than the angular limit of refraction defined by:
will be entirely reflected at the interface between the zones Z1 and Z2 for example allowing infrastructure located at sea to be protected.
By virtue of these laws, it is also possible to produce a composite structure that forms a convergent lens.
The composite structure 200a illustrated in
The zone Z2 has the shape of a biconvex lens of radius of curvature R. In other words, the interface between the zones Z1 and Z2 is a circular arc of radius R the curvature of which is turned toward the side of the zone Z1, from which zone the waves arrive, and the interface between the zones Z2 and Z3 is also a circular arc of radius R, the curvature of which is turned toward the side of the zone Z3, via which zone the waves exit.
Thus, a plane hydroelastic wave that propagates from the zone Z1 to the zone Z2 then Z3 of the composite structure 200a is focused in the focal plane of the lens thus produced.
The composite structure 200b illustrated in
In this configuration, the zone Z2 has the shape of a biconcave lens of radius of curvature R. In other words, the interface between the zones Z1 and Z2 is a circular arc of radius R the radius of curvature of which is turned toward the side of the zone Z2, and the interface between the zones Z2 and Z3 is also a circular arc of radius R, the radius of curvature of which is also turned toward the side of zone Z2.
In the same way, a plane hydroelastic wave that propagates from zone Z1 to zone Z2 then Z3 of the composite structure 200b is focused in the focal plane of the lens thus produced.
The focal length f of these lenses may be defined as follows:
A system for controlling hydroelastic surface waves comprising one of the composite structures 200a and 200b such as defined above may therefore advantageously be used to harvest the energy of hydroelastic waves propagating over the surface of a liquid on which the controlling structure is installed, the latter being adapted to focus the waves on a point, just like a convergent lens.
Thus, such a structure will make it possible to improve the performance of a device placed at the focal point of the composite structure 200a or 200b and capable of converting the energy of the received hydroelastic waves into electrical power for example, such as the devices used at sea that allow wave energy to be converted into electricity.
Reciprocally, it is also possible to create divergent lenses. To do this, the shape of the zones and of the interfaces is the same as that described above with the exception that when the zone Z2 has a biconvex shape, the index n_{1 }must be higher than n_{2 }and when the zone Z2 has a biconcave shape, the index n_{1 }must be lower than n_{2}.
In this configuration, the composite structure 300 is made up of two contiguous zone Z1 and Z2, of respective indices n_{1 }and n_{2 }respecting the following equations E13 and E14:
The interface between the zones Z1 and Z2 is a right angle the vertex of which is directed toward the side of the zone Z2 so that a hydroelastic wave arriving from the zone Z1 is refracted twice, like a light beam, on contact with the interface between the zones Z1 and Z2 and leaves along an axis parallel to its direction of incidence, as is the case for a “corner cube” or optical reflector.
A system for controlling hydroelastic surface waves comprising a composite structure 300 such as defined above may advantageously be used to protect a device, such as a nuclear power plant, possessing a portion in contact with the surface of the liquid, the composite structure 300 being adapted to protect the portion in contact with the surface of the liquid and for reflecting the hydroelastic waves reaching the device.
The use of this kind of system on the open sea or over a large extent of liquid would be difficult and expensive to implement if the zones Zi were continuous and made from a single material, as a continuous film. Thus, according to one option compatible with the embodiments described above, it may be advantageous to produce composite zones Zi or effective zones Zeff_i.
In this embodiment, the zone Zeff_i is composed of a matrix of floating pads (30) that are connected by elastic linking means (40). It is then possible to define the effective bending coefficient of the effective zone Zeff_i using equation (E 15):
where E_{eff_i }is the effective Young'"'"'s modulus of the zone Zeff_i, e_{eff_i }is the effective thickness of the effective zone Zeff_i, and v_{eff_i }is the effective Poisson'"'"'s ratio of the zone Zeff_i, i being equal to 1 or 2, and of effective internal mechanical tensions Teff_1 and Teff_2, respectively.
The composite structure is then adapted to, when the controlling system is placed on the surface of the liquid such that a hydroelastic surface wave propagates through the first zone Z1 or Zeff_1 then through the second zone Z2 or Zeff_2 of the composite structure floating on the surface of the liquid of density ρ, and when the wavelength λ_{i }of the hydroelastic wave propagating through the zone Zi respects equations (E6a) and (E7a), and the effective wavelength λ_{eff_i }of the wave propagating through the effective zone Zeff_i respects the following equations, equations (E16) and (E17):
where g is the universal gravitational constant and i corresponds to the index of the zone Zi or Zeff_i through which the hydroelastic wave is propagating.
By defining an effective index n_{eff_i }on the basis of the effective propagation speed Veff_i of the hydroelastic waves in the effective zone Zeff_i, it is thus possible to create, via adjustment of the bending coefficients Di or Deff_i and/or of the shapes of said zones Zi or Zeff_i, components that respect the laws of geometric optics such as a Fresnel lens or a corner cube/reflector usable to focus or reflect hydroelastic waves on a large area of liquid while reducing the materials required to manufacture an equivalent controlling system.
Advantageously, the materials used to produce the controlling systems and devices described above may be biodegradable so as not to pollute the liquid on which they are installed, and thus to allow them to be used for a certain time without requiring physical removal thereof and therefore the cost of deinstallation to be avoided.
The invention has been illustrated and described in detail in the drawings and the above description. The latter must be considered to be illustrative and to have been given by way of example, and the invention must not be considered to be limited to this description alone. Many variant embodiments are possible.
 1 Liquid
 10 System for controlling hydroelastic surface waves of a liquid according to a first embodiment
 20 Direction of propagation of the waves
 30 Floating pad
 40 Elastic linking means
 100 Composite structure
 200a Biconvexlenstype composite structure
 200b Biconcavelenstype composite structure
 300 “cCorner cube” type composite structure/reflector