Fixing Potholes with Non-Newtonian Fluid
potholes? Forget waiting around for 5 road workers to stand around and watch
while one guy fills the pothole with asphalt! Just grab a bit of non-Newtonian
fluid and, there – you fixed it:
The students, undergraduates at Case Western Reserve University
in Cleveland, devised the idea as part of an engineering contest sponsored
by the French materials company Saint-Gobain—and took first prize
last week. The objective was to use simple materials to create a novel
"So we were putzing around with different ideas and things
we wanted to work with—and we were like, what’s a common, everyday
problem all around the world that everybody hates?" explains 21-year-old
team member Curtis Obert. "And we landed on potholes." He
and four other students decided on a non-Newtonian fluid as a solution
because of its unusual physical properties. "When there’s no force
being applied to it, it flows like a liquid does and fills in the holes,"
says Obert, "but when it gets run over, it acts like a solid."
What? Don’t believe us? Check out this video clip of people
walking on water in a pool filled with non-Newtonian liquid.