Fixing Potholes with Non-Newtonian Fluid

Got 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 product.

"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."

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What? Don't believe us? Check out this video clip of people walking on water in a pool filled with non-Newtonian liquid.


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