Research

Fixing Potholes with Oobleck

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Shear-thickening non-Newtonian fluids like oobleck become more viscous as force is applied to them. This behavior causes them to form finger-like structures when vibrated, makes it good liquid armor, and even enables people to run across a pool of it without sinking. Now undergraduates at Case Western Reserve University have found a new use for such fluids: pothole filling. They have created a pothole patch that consists of a waterproof bag filled with a dry solution that, when mixed with water, creates a non-Newtonian fluid capable of flowing to take the shape of the pothole but resisting a car tire like a solid. They cover the patch with a layer of black fabric so that drivers don’t avoid the patch. See the video above for a demonstration and ScienceNOW for more. (submitted by aggieastronaut)

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