Silly Putty-like material in waterproof bags to act as quick fix for potholes

For those cruising around in their cars or speeding away on their bikes potholes can be an absolute nuisance. There is no shortage of them either as in some parts of the world, you are bound to find more potholes and less of a road in the rainy season. But students from the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland have come up with an ingenious way to fill up the potholes at low cost and in a very quick fashion. By using a non-Newtonian liquid in a strong and durable plastic bag, they have devised an instant way to get rid of the potholes.

Silly Putty for Potholes

A non-Newtonian liquid is one that does not behave like a liquid when force is applied on it. A good example of it is the silly putty which has gone on to become one of the most beloved toys across the globe. On-Newtonian liquids change their state and do not continue to act as liquids when external force (sheer) is applied on them. While some of them become more viscous and flow away on application of force, others become hard and act as solids. The students have designed these pothole patches with a powdered mixture that acts as a rock hard solid when force is applied.

So one can just put in the bags filled with this material to patch up the potholes and when a car runs over it, the external force ensures that the substance inside acts as a solid. This offers cities an easy fix to the pothole problem and they can buy themselves some time before permanent fixes. The students who devised this special pothole filler bags are all set to patent them and hopefully we will see some sort of commercial model soon. The added perk is that the material inside the bags is completely biodegradable and can be replaced whenever needed. Of course we still have one lingering doubt- what will stop someone from running off with one of these bags?

Via: Sciencemag