Students Win Prize for Innovative Pothole Repair
Material called 'oobleck' could provide a cheaper, environmentally friendly way to fix potholes.
Local politicians probably get more calls on potholes than anything else. But these days, with budget shortfalls and with tax hikes about as popular as the Jonas Brothers, it seems that there are more potholes -- and the ones that are there are even larger.
Maybe it’s time for an additional solution that can fill the gap (pun intended) when road crews can't get to all of the bone-jarring banes of driving existence. Students at Cleveland's Case Western Reserve University have come up with an alternative, and in April they took the top prize in a competition sponsored by global materials company Saint-Gobain, in which the objective was to use simple materials to create an unconventional product that solves a common problem.
Because a byproduct of potholes is puddles, the team deduced that best way to solve the problem was to fill them with a non-Newtonian fluid. Non-Newtonian fluids respond differently to shear than Newtonian fluids, acting as a solid upon impact. The students filled a Kevlar bag with a nontoxic goop called "oobleck" to win the prize. (Without the force, oobleck is like a sack of fluid, simply conforming to the contours of the pothole and creating a level surface. A video of the solution is found below.)
The students have road-tested the solution, although tougher winter testing will be required. As with many new ideas, the initial upfront cost may be no less than traditional pothole repair techniques. However, the bags are reusable, so there’s a potential for long-term cost savings. And because oobleck is biodegradable, it’s also environmentally friendly.
Several companies have expressed interested in the students’ prize-winning solution. But instead of waiting on this -- or for politicians or other officials to fill potholes on your street -- it seems any enterprising citizen could potentially mix a bag of oobleck and fix the problem himself -- assuming he has some Kevlar bags lying around.
Getting a municipality to do ANY pothole repairs is an accomplishment in itself.
Just do the repair correctly in the first place (with ashphalt mix), then you wont need to do repeated patchs and ultimatly excavate the area. Most of the chuckheads doing the local road repairs know nothing about proper road contruction or repairs... They just dump some warm ashphalt mix in the hole and step on the pile to "compress" it. What a waste of tax payers money!
do the job right the first time and for those company.s that tear up the streets they need to put the street back the way it was no little patch job
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