Tag: potholes

Bright Idea: Filling Potholes with Non-Newtonian Fluids

By Veronique Greenwood | April 12, 2012 12:34 pm

What’s something that everyone hates? That’s the question that undergrads at Case Western University asked recently while brainstorming their entry for a materials science competition. Their answer: potholes. And their answer to the problem of how to fill them cheaply and easily? Basically, corn starch and water.

It’s not as strange as it sounds: the corn starch putty is a non-Newtonian fluid, a class of fluids that behave very differently from water. In the case of the putty, when it’s placed in an oddly shaped receptacle, like a pothole, it will flow like a liquid into all the nooks and crannies. But the second you push on it, with a car, for instance (or, as you can see in the above video, your feet), it turns solid, resisting compression and giving drivers a smooth ride.

Here’s a little more on the physics involved, courtesy of ScienceNOW, including how ketchup-like non-Newtonian fluids are different from putty-like non-Newtonian fluids: Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Physics & Math, Technology
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