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Transportation Science

Using Non-Newtonian Fluids To Fill Potholes 260

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-standing-zone dept.
sciencehabit writes in with a link about a group of students who have come up with an interesting idea about how to fill potholes. "Non-Newtonian fluids are the stars of high school science demonstrations. In one example, an ooey-gooey batter made from corn starch and water oozes like a liquid when moved slowly. But punch it, or run across a giant puddle of it, and it becomes stiff like a solid. Now, a group of college students has figured out a new use for the strange stuff: filler for potholes."
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Using Non-Newtonian Fluids To Fill Potholes

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  • by samazon (2601193) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @05:48PM (#39650093)
    I cannot foresee a way to prevent people from stealing these. I mean, I know it sounds silly, but renters steal light fixtures, for crying out loud.
  • by hamjudo (64140) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @06:03PM (#39650223) Homepage Journal
    No, this is a feature. These can be used to pave "no parking/no standing" zones. Rule breaker's vehicles will get eaten, by the pavement. If used on streets, it will encourage drivers to avoid congested areas.
  • Re:Stopping on it? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by istartedi (132515) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @06:06PM (#39650249) Journal

    Worst case scenario, you're back to having a pothole. As long as the bag can "bounce back" after being sqeezed it's not so bad. Also, it would feel weird to slowly sink but it wouldn't ruin your suspension and you should be able to drive out of it. The problem with the potholes is when you hit them at speed and ruin your tires and/or suspension.

  • Re:More Patents (Score:5, Interesting)

    by knarf (34928) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @06:28PM (#39650513) Homepage

    the stuff is fun to play with but nobody has found a real good application for it in over a hundred years.

    Viscous couplings have been made using dilatant (non-newtonian) fluids for quite a while now, at least since the 1985 VW Transporter 'Syncro' (4WD rear-engined van made by Volkswagen, quite popular here in Europe).

  • by Karmashock (2415832) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @07:19PM (#39651097)

    Not if you do it at night which is the only time you should ever do it.

    Grocery stores restock at around 2AM. If they can get 20 guys to show up in a truck every night to unload and restock the shelves in a SINGLE store... I should think the city should be able to fill some god damn pot holes in the wee hours of the night. This is not complicated. It's obvious and easy.

    Businesses across the country do disruptive things at night. Most server updates don't happen during business hours. They happen at midnight or 2 am.

    If practically every business does this already, why can't the city? And don't give me that it's too many people. Think about how many people it takes to restock every grocery store in the city every night? That workforce ALONE dwarfs what the city would need to take care of pot holes several times over. And bargain grocery stores find the practice entirely economical.

    The problem is not the asphalt. The problem is the city, the transit unions, and people that find it acceptable to leave pot holes unfilled for months on end.

  • by backslashdot (95548) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @08:47PM (#39652201)

    Interesting. .. actually on the same vein .. why not make speed bumps out of non newtonian fluids? Just fill a cylindrical rubber (like a hose with a huge diameter) with the fluid .. people going slow will feel hardly any bump while speeders get the full effect?

  • Re:Stopping on it? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by eyrieowl (881195) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @10:49PM (#39653295)
    I see another problem...what happens if the bag gets knocked out of the hole? Now you have a sizable road hazard which acts a lot like a big rock to all the cars hitting it. You'd have to ensure that the bag is fully anchored into the hole. Worst case, you could have the bag get pulled up by the friction of a tire and thrown back into a car behind...I'd imagine that would not lead to good things.

Numeric stability is probably not all that important when you're guessing.

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