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Using Non-Newtonian Fluids To Fill Potholes

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the no-standing-zone dept.

Transportation 260

sciencehabit writes in with a link about a group of students who have come up with an interesting idea about how to fill potholes. "Non-Newtonian fluids are the stars of high school science demonstrations. In one example, an ooey-gooey batter made from corn starch and water oozes like a liquid when moved slowly. But punch it, or run across a giant puddle of it, and it becomes stiff like a solid. Now, a group of college students has figured out a new use for the strange stuff: filler for potholes."

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260 comments

More Patents (5, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#39650025)

The students plan to patent their invention, so they won't divulge their exact formulation,

Exact formulation isn't necessary for this application, as every 7th grade science class learns it by trial and error with a $1.29 box of corn starch.
You can do this in your kitchen in 10 minutes, and the stuff is fun to play with but nobody has found a real good application for it in over a
hundred years.

The trick in keeping the right proportions of water and starch, something that rain and sun will contrive to disrupt. Burst their bag and you have a big mess.
  If you stop with a tire one of these, such as at a traffic light, you will sink into it, because given constant pressure, it will flow. It only resists changing pressure, or active kneading, not static weights.

But the beauty here is the rapidity with which these can be thrown down, and they fact that they flow into the pothole, conform to its shape, and thereby resist being ejected by cars.

P.S. It will be a cold day in hell before you find Police patching potholes.

Re:More Patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650083)

P.S. It will be a cold day in hell before you find Police patching potholes.

True. Though I'd never thought about... that would be a really good idea. They're out there anyway, 99% of their job is idle time and they've got the vehicle and equipment to block off a lane of traffic.

Re:More Patents (-1, Troll)

stoolpigeon (454276) | about 2 years ago | (#39650125)

The cops I've ridden with stayed very busy dealing with a constant queue of calls that had been dispatched to them. I'd imagine that 99% number is a touch lower. A better candidate would be the fire department. Get them off the lazy boys, out of the station and doing some work.

Re:More Patents (4, Insightful)

Fned (43219) | about 2 years ago | (#39650151)

A better candidate would be the fire department. Get them off the lazy boys, out of the station and doing some work.

Yeah, it's not like they have to be ready to put out fires or anything.

Re:More Patents (1)

nschubach (922175) | about 2 years ago | (#39650425)

If they are out and about with the trucks and gear... they may be even closer to any incident. All they'd need was a GPS synced to Dispatch.

Re:More Patents (1)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | about 2 years ago | (#39651307)

never seen em on lazy boys, always see em out at their controlled burn site, setting something on fire and putting it out. if the police are the biggest gang on the block, firefighters are the most organized arsonists. like hackers who work to defeat crackers, these guys are pyros who work to defeat firebugs. there's a joke in there somewhere for hackers and firebugs, i just can't find it right now. help me out here

Re:More Patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650859)

The cops I've ridden with stayed very busy dealing with a constant queue of calls that had been dispatched to them. I'd imagine that 99% number is a touch lower. A better candidate would be the fire department. Get them off the lazy boys, out of the station and doing some work.

SHHHHHH...... they're sleeping man!

Re:More Patents (2)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 2 years ago | (#39652149)

Question:

Do you see cops sitting in the neighborhood donut shops or do you see fire fighters sitting there?

Re:More Patents (0, Troll)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 2 years ago | (#39650527)

P.S. It will be a cold day in hell before you find Police patching potholes.

True. Though I'd never thought about... that would be a really good idea. They're out there anyway, 99% of their job is idle time and they've got the vehicle and equipment to block off a lane of traffic.

Potholes and the asshole of a citizen are two different things. They are only interested in putting things into one of the two.

Re:More Patents (4, Insightful)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 2 years ago | (#39650301)

If they have something that's really worthwhile, it's a combo system that uses the NNF to fill the hole to a level surface, the a traditional asphalt cap over that. The beauty of the NNF is that it fills the gaps and voids quickly, but still provides strong resistance for shock from cars driving over.

I also assume that they've used something non-biodegradable, corn starch wouldn't make it very long exposed on a highway.

Of course I could RTFA, but what would happen to my Karma if I did that?

Re:More Patents (1)

nschubach (922175) | about 2 years ago | (#39650413)

Corn Starch mixtures also have a nasty side effect of growing mold after a period of time.

Re:More Patents (2)

julesh (229690) | about 2 years ago | (#39650701)

Corn Starch mixtures also have a nasty side effect of growing mold after a period of time.

That's what benzylkonium chloride is for.

Re:More Patents (1)

Snodgrass (446409) | about 2 years ago | (#39651011)

The beauty of the NNF is that it fills the gaps and voids quickly, but still provides strong resistance for shock from cars driving over.

Except that it's in a bag, which would prevent that, wouldn't it?

Re:More Patents (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#39650485)

assuming they are using corn starch.

Maybe the have some material that is non Newtonian, but hardens with applied heat? that way you could pour the liquid in at room temperature. Which would be awesome and much cheaper.Assuming it meet required material guidelines.

Re:More Patents (5, Interesting)

knarf (34928) | about 2 years ago | (#39650513)

the stuff is fun to play with but nobody has found a real good application for it in over a hundred years.

Viscous couplings have been made using dilatant (non-newtonian) fluids for quite a while now, at least since the 1985 VW Transporter 'Syncro' (4WD rear-engined van made by Volkswagen, quite popular here in Europe).

Re:More Patents (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 2 years ago | (#39650521)

The trick in keeping the right proportions of water and starch, something that rain and sun will contrive to disrupt. Burst their bag and you have a big mess.

Caption of the first image at the top of the page of TFA "Prototype. Waterproof bags filled with a shear-thickening fluid that resists compression when run over by traffic."

Re:More Patents (1)

reboot246 (623534) | about 2 years ago | (#39651261)

What are the bags made of and how long will they last with traffic constantly running over them? How long can the material maintain its waterproof characteristics?

If it works, I'd love to have a pair of boots made from that miracle material.

Stopping on it? (3, Insightful)

int2str (619733) | about 2 years ago | (#39650069)

Neat idea and looks to be working well for cars moving fast.
What about traffic jams though where cars come to a stop on these bags. I'd imagine they'd sing in somewhat and might have trouble moving out of the hole from there.

Re:Stopping on it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650245)

potholes, not sinkholes

Re:Stopping on it? (4, Interesting)

istartedi (132515) | about 2 years ago | (#39650249)

Worst case scenario, you're back to having a pothole. As long as the bag can "bounce back" after being sqeezed it's not so bad. Also, it would feel weird to slowly sink but it wouldn't ruin your suspension and you should be able to drive out of it. The problem with the potholes is when you hit them at speed and ruin your tires and/or suspension.

Re:Stopping on it? (-1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 2 years ago | (#39650793)

Bounce back to shape? How quickly? I'm sorry, but this idea sucks balls. If I'm driving 20MPH and bust a 17" low profile rim on a pothole that was "supposedly" fixed, as a citizen I'm going to be pissed!

BTW, wouldn't asphalt be cheaper than some new exotic NNF material? Just fill the damn thing and be done with it. That, or repave the entire road if it's that badly shot. It will have to be done sooner or later anyways. Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX, I'm looking at you! I hate driving on that damn road. The entire right lane might as well be an uneven dirt road at this point.

Re:Stopping on it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39652247)

Meh- Westheimer -was- an uneven, two-lane dirt road west of the Beltway when I started driving. Westbelt itself was even worse.

Re:Stopping on it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650257)

Neat idea and looks to be working well for cars moving fast.
What about traffic jams though where cars come to a stop on these bags. I'd imagine they'd sing in somewhat and might have trouble moving out of the hole from there.

Could it be formulated to harden over time?

It couldn't be any worse than painting the lines on a road, anything that gets the road crews out of the way sooner is good in my book.

Re:Stopping on it? (4, Insightful)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 2 years ago | (#39650311)

The fluid is kept in a bag that is then covered by a black cloth to make it less visible to drivers. Even if they did sink into the pothole while at rest, they could still get out easily, and the bag would simply flow back into its original shape after a few seconds. The only hazard or concern I see there is if the next car drives over it before it flows back to being flat, in which case they may get a bit of a bump, but still no worse than the original pothole itself.

Re:Stopping on it? (0)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#39650335)

will create more traffic jams, use more petrol

the invention is probably funded by exxonmobil

Re:Stopping on it? (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | about 2 years ago | (#39650361)

I would love to see what happens when it rains.

The quickest way to ruin this stuff is to over-dilute it with water. Then it acts like....water...with some powder dissolved in it. Not great, or non-newtonian at all.

Re:Stopping on it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650573)

Assuming the bags they used to hold the stuff were waterproof (likely), they continued to perform their function.

Re:Stopping on it? (1)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | about 2 years ago | (#39651411)

are the waterproof bags also being-driven-over-by-semi-trucks-proof? some of those reflective dots that i see smashed and warped are also waterproof. hopefully the bags don't rip over time either.

Re:Stopping on it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650789)

What would happen if the temperature drops below the freezing point of water in winter time. Is the mixture still a NNF or simply becomes a solid?

Re:Stopping on it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650625)

What about traffic jams though where cars come to a stop on these bags?

Many comments are quick to jump at this non-issue. It's not like the proposal it to replace roads with this stuff.

The worst part about pot holes is hitting them at speed. This would alleviate that problem.

What happens when people take them? (3, Interesting)

samazon (2601193) | about 2 years ago | (#39650093)

I cannot foresee a way to prevent people from stealing these. I mean, I know it sounds silly, but renters steal light fixtures, for crying out loud.

Re:What happens when people take them? (2)

sixtyeight (844265) | about 2 years ago | (#39651037)

A free cement bag of Silly Putty? What couldn't you do with one of those?

It's similar to a city leaving Giant Slinkies all around town.

Re:What happens when people take them? (1)

cynyr (703126) | about 2 years ago | (#39651939)

wait! we can steal the light fixtures? I've seen bulbs, and I've put in crappy incandescents instead of leaving my LEDs behind, but that's different.

What happens when a car stands still on them? (4, Insightful)

CityZen (464761) | about 2 years ago | (#39650097)

Traffic isn't always flowing, after all. (And traffic itself acts like a non-Newtonian fluid, as well.)

Re:What happens when a car stands still on them? (5, Interesting)

hamjudo (64140) | about 2 years ago | (#39650223)

No, this is a feature. These can be used to pave "no parking/no standing" zones. Rule breaker's vehicles will get eaten, by the pavement. If used on streets, it will encourage drivers to avoid congested areas.

Re:What happens when a car stands still on them? (4, Interesting)

backslashdot (95548) | about 2 years ago | (#39652201)

Interesting. .. actually on the same vein .. why not make speed bumps out of non newtonian fluids? Just fill a cylindrical rubber (like a hose with a huge diameter) with the fluid .. people going slow will feel hardly any bump while speeders get the full effect?

Wonderful idea ... (2, Insightful)

Auroch (1403671) | about 2 years ago | (#39650161)

It's a great idea ... until you read that "The bag might cost a hundred dollars but you can reuse it a hundred times, and by that time you'd be saving a ton of money". So yes, great idea ... until kids start stealing them BECAUSE THEY CAN.

Also : Read the AC posts in any slashdot story and you'll be quick to agree : the world is filled with angry kids.

Re:Wonderful idea ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650233)

It's a great idea ... until you read that "The bag might cost a hundred dollars but you can reuse it a hundred times, and by that time you'd be saving a ton of money". So yes, great idea ... until kids start stealing them BECAUSE THEY CAN.

Also : Read the AC posts in any slashdot story and you'll be quick to agree : the world is filled with angry kids.

I'm going to steal these and beat the neighbors cat with them.... fuckers.

Re:Wonderful idea ... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#39650379)

There are angry kids. It's not even a majority though. You won't here about the other ones.

Re:Wonderful idea ... (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#39650589)

That assumes that kids can steal them. Mind you, it's in the middle of traffic. Also, the protective layer on the top could be painted to the colour of the surrounding asphalt, acting as a disguise. Even if they can, this would still be useful on roads outside of the city, or in streets with cameras.

Re:Wonderful idea ... (5, Funny)

c0lo (1497653) | about 2 years ago | (#39650661)

Another idea: let's use pitch - it maybe not a non newtonian fluid (but again, it may be... just haven't had enough time to check), but it is a fluid [wikipedia.org] nonetheless.

Now, because it tends to stick on the tires (and the use of mats tends to be expensive over time), I suppose we can mix the pitch with sand and/or fine gravel before filling in the holes - should keep the pothole filled for some years without the need of revisiting it... what a boon for the taxpayers. (hmmm... I think I'm going to patent this)

Re:Wonderful idea ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39652281)

So you plan to close the street while your filler material drys?

Re:Wonderful idea ... (1)

trout007 (975317) | about 2 years ago | (#39650781)

As a kid I had a friend that would steal anything. I went to his room once and saw this big metal box and about 20 feet of black hose. I asked him WTF it was. He said someone put it on the side of the road to count cars and he just had to have it.

Re:Wonderful idea ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39652021)

Traffic barricades cost on the order of a hundred dollars and kids steal them because they can. They are still pretty functional and most get plenty of reuse.

This couldn't happen last week? (2)

XPeter (1429763) | about 2 years ago | (#39650209)

If it's cheap, and will get towns to fix shit fast, then I'm all for it.

Blew $300 on a new tire last week. Had to swerve so I wouldn't hit a deer, and went straight over a pothole.

Re:This couldn't happen last week? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650429)

swerving to miss a dear often leads to much more dangerous accidents. don't swerve.

Re:This couldn't happen last week? (1)

Anomalyst (742352) | about 2 years ago | (#39650455)

Had to swerve so I wouldn't hit a deer, and went straight over a pothole.

If you had to swerve you didn't go straight over.

Re:This couldn't happen last week? (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#39650459)

You don't happen to drive an SUV/Soccer Mum car do you?

Re:This couldn't happen last week? (1)

XPeter (1429763) | about 2 years ago | (#39650495)

I drive a honda accord! I had no idea the tires were so expensive. Pilot Mxm4

Re:This couldn't happen last week? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650615)

Me too.

They aren't, you got fleeced.
Probably by the dealership.

Source: New tire last week, $115.

Re:This couldn't happen last week? (1)

XPeter (1429763) | about 2 years ago | (#39650821)

Maybe it's because I live in right outside NYC, but the dealer quoted me for the same amount. I ordered it from tirerack

Re:This couldn't happen last week? (1)

rahvin112 (446269) | about 2 years ago | (#39650519)

This isn't "fixing" anything. It's a temporary thing and as other have pointed out if it's not stolen its likely to be destroyed by water or birds or chemical contamination or any number of things. A "real" cheap temporary fix is cold mix asphalt applied to the pothole until hotmix asphalt is available. Cold mix is durable and reliable, lasts long enough to get you through a winter hot plant shutdown and has no value to thieves nor is it any different chemically from the regular hot mix asphalt other than the petroleum product it's cut with.

If you want your city or state to fix the roads petition to get the gas tax raised so they have the funds to actually fix the roads.

Re:This couldn't happen last week? (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 2 years ago | (#39652011)

Blew $300 on a new tire last week. Had to swerve so I wouldn't hit a deer, and went straight over a pothole.

$300 for a tire? Either you drive an 6 figure exotic something, or you are an idiot, or you got fleeced. Or some combination of those.

Oh, and you know you should almost never replace only one tire, right? Both fronts or both rears, unless they are really, really new.

A new problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650253)

Given the tendency bacteria cultures have of finding their way into this stuff, you may start out with a patched pothole but end up with a slightly squishy speed bump after a short while.

Seems inferior to the current solution. (1, Insightful)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 2 years ago | (#39650327)

The problem with this is that it won't last. You see they put a cover over it. Why is that? Because goop would get stuck to the tires and that would erode the "fluid" away. So they have to put a cover over it. And the cover might move, or fluid might evaporate or god knows what else.

Consider the current solutions of putting sand in the pothole which works for a little while until the sand is eroded away. You could put a little mat over the sand just like they did in for the fluid to get the same result at a cheaper price. And of course, the real solution is to just fill the god damn pot hole in with some asphalt. THIS is why pot holes are so annoying. It's not because they're hard to fix. It's because they're stupid easy to fix and they're not because the transit authority is lazy.

We could say they're underpaid or underfunded or it's hard to keep track of where the problems are but there are some problems with that little theory.

1. the transit budgets are more then sufficient to handle the pot holes if they stopped looting the transit funds to build over priced mass transit systems and instead put the money to what it was for in the first place... roads, bridges, etc. If you have something left over after that... after all the pot holes are filled... then you can put what's left into little pet projects. But not a penny from the fund for anything but road maintenance until the roads have been actually maintained.

2. The notion that they can't keep track of all the pot holes would be understandable if it took them a few days to catch a pot hole. However, they often don't address a pot hole for months. That's not a question of not being able to track it. They know it's there. It's in the middle of on of the busiest streets in a city of millions of people. Probably a hundred thousand people in a week see that pot hole at a minimum. So they know it's there.

3. There aren't even that many of them. In a given square mile how many pot holes form in a given week? It only gets out of control when they're left to build up and whole street turns into potholes.

it's crap like that is that makes Americans want SUVs. The urban street is increasing turning into an off road experience between the god damn speed bumps and the god damn potholes. Try this guys... flat. Just try it.

Re:Seems inferior to the current solution. (5, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#39650441)

1. Mass TRANSIT is part of the transit budget.

2. There are more then one pothole. There a lot, and the queue is often very long. Plus, if work is going to be done for some other reason, they put off the pot hole repair. And some street required special permissions to close, as well as cost a lot of money in diversions.

3. Depends on your environment, and weather or not the budget allows for quality material and labor.

You need to close off portion of the street, have it located*, check for other work.
That means back ups, delays, store owners angry.

*marked to determine whats under the road at that spot.

Re:Seems inferior to the current solution. (2)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 2 years ago | (#39650779)

1. Don't loot the road maintenance budget to fund other projects. Next time you want to add a feature, put it on the ballot and tell everyone that taxes are going up to pay for it. And then take ONLY the EXTRA funds collected by the raise to pay for your project. Leave the existing programs alone or you'll starve them and they'll fall appart.

2. The queue is long because you don't fill any of the holes. They sit there for months. If you have so many holes that you leave them there for months then clearly you need more people filling the holes. Yes, that costs money. Like maybe the money that was set aside for road maintenance in the first place before it was looted. As to closing streets, do it at night. Why is it that public officials make average citizens look like rocket scientists? This shit is obvious. Lots of businesses do disruptive activities at night. For example, grocery stores restock goods at around 2AM so they don't disrupt customers during the day. Why close a busy street in the middle of rush hour to fill a pothole? Oh that's right, because the transit union charges extra for the night shift. Which is one of many reasons we shouldn't even have a transit union in the fist place. It should just be subcontracted to construction companies that are more then competent to run around with asphalt and fill in some god damn holes. As to permission to fill the holes, you have to be kidding me. The communities are begging to get the holes filled. Recently we offered to fill them in ourselves and the city threatened us with legal action if we did it ourselves. So no. Permission is not an issue unless the permission is from the city to for it to do it's f'ing job.

3. I can't speak for every place on earth. But in my city, it's one hundred percent laziness. They could fill them on contract very easily. License a bunch of small construction companies and pay them PER pothole. Set a flat rate for pothole filling and then rather then paying someone per hour, overtime, health benifits, etc... you're just paying a flat rate for each hole. Lots of companies would jump at that.

You create jobs in the city. The city saves money. The potholes get filled. Everyone wins.

There's no counter argument to that.

Re:Seems inferior to the current solution. (4, Funny)

SomeJoel (1061138) | about 2 years ago | (#39651661)

There's no counter argument to that.

There's always a counter argument.

If you fill the potholes, property values would go up, and with them property taxes. I am firmly against your plan to raise taxes. You must be some sort of democrat.

Re:Seems inferior to the current solution. (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 2 years ago | (#39650961)

I got to thinking about this several years go. There are sections of the road that often requires major servicing in high traffic areas. It's a lot of work, I know. But if they could pre-plan construction of the roads like a suspended server room floor, it would be that much easier. Right? Just lift one tile of road, perform work quickly, and lower the tile back down. I'm sure it's a lot more complicated then that with load bearing and all. But I thought the idea sounded pretty nifty if I do say so myself.

Re:Seems inferior to the current solution. (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#39650591)

it's crap like that is that makes Americans want SUVs

And the more bigger, heavier SUV's, the quicker the roads wear out... same with them hybrids, they're a few hundred kilograms heavier than a similar sized non-hybrid car.

Re:Seems inferior to the current solution. (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#39650939)

And the more bigger, heavier SUV's, the quicker the roads wear out... same with them hybrids, they're a few hundred kilograms heavier than a similar sized non-hybrid car.

Toyota Yaris - 2295 lbs - 153 inches long
Toyota Corolla - 2800 lbs - 179 inches
Toyota Prius - 3042 lbs - 175 inches
Toyota Camry - 3190 lbs - 189 inches
Toyota RAV4 SUV - 3360 lbs - 181 inches
Toyota Sequoia SUV - 5670 lbs - 205 inches

So the Prius is closest to the Corolla in size, and weighs only about 110 kg more. It's lighter than the Camry and around half the weight of the Sequoia. It's only 2 inches shorter than the RAV4, but the Prius is 140 kg *lighter*. (sorry for mixing metric and non-metric units, but the poster was talking about kg, but Toyota uses lbs and inches when they publish specs)

Perhaps you meant a full electric car...the Nissan Leaf is 175 inches long and weights 3300 lbs, or about 220kg heavier than the similarly sized Corolla.

Re:Seems inferior to the current solution. (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 2 years ago | (#39651341)

Exactly... and it's not the weight that's an issue... it's the possibly an increase in traffic which should be more then countered by a relative increase in gasoline tax revenue, and other road related taxes... the vast majority of which should go to building and maintaining roads. I suspect that increasingly that isn't where the money is going... which is why our roads are resembling post apocalyptic cityscapes.

Re:Seems inferior to the current solution. (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#39652341)

Your specs confirmed my previous post. The Prius, which is slightly smaller than a corolla is 240lbs heavier. The cause is they may have a slightly smaller engine but they also have two electric motors and a rather heavy battery pack to go with it, along with a larger more complex transmission.

SUV's are also heavier than regular cars, as your data shows.

Re:Seems inferior to the current solution. (2)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 2 years ago | (#39650963)

Oh like cars in the 50s were light? Have you seen what a 1956 Cadillac looks like? It's an all steel boat on wheels. Don't tell me the cars today are too heavy. That's just whining. Yes, cars in the 1980s were lighter then today. They mostly got heavier when the safety standards were changed which required more steel reinforcement. That's like the utilities saying we use too much water or use too much electricity. We use less water per capita then we did 50 years ago and apparently we're still too wasteful for the local utilities.

Funny that this wasn't a problem 50 years ago. What changed? Oh, the population doubled a few times and they didn't build any new dams or aqueducts to handle the population increase. So is the problem really that we use too much water or that there are too many people in this region for the infrastructure to handle? See, if that's their game they should either restrict new construction once they hit saturation or they should... you know... maybe build some new facilities.

Sorry if I'm coming off crazy and angry... I'm just fed up with this stupid crap.

Fill the pot holes. Offer it on commission if you must. It will probably cost less that way. Just offer construction companies a flat rate to fill each hole. Magically the streets will be free of pot holes overnight as about thousand construction companies all run of in a thousand different directions and together fill all the potholes.

I love that they'll leave a stupid pothole unfilled for months sometimes on the grounds that they're thinking about doing roadwork soon. Never mind that the pot hole shouldn't cost more then a couple hundred bucks to fill max and that the damage done to cars in that time period is magnitudes of whatever the city is saving.

Re:Seems inferior to the current solution. (1)

prehistoricman5 (1539099) | about 2 years ago | (#39651317)

I have no idea if this story is true, but reportedly old Cadillacs contained a couple hundred pounds of lead weights just to make the ride smoother.

Re:Seems inferior to the current solution. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39652171)

So is the problem really that we use too much water or that there are too many people in this region for the infrastructure to handle? See, if that's their game they should either restrict new construction once they hit saturation or they should... you know... maybe build some new facilities.

Maybe they should use some of that transit money to fix the cause instead of just the symptoms, like invest it in some sort of public system that concentrates people into a smaller number of vehicles, having the double benefit of reducing traffic and reducing road maintenance.

Re:Seems inferior to the current solution. (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#39652297)

Its a problem caused by many factors. Number of vehicles and the impact each vehicle has on the road. Why do you think trucks pay more in road taxes and are charged based on weight? A modern SUV weighs more than a modern sedan, and the sedan is probably safer too.

Re:Seems inferior to the current solution. (1)

CycleMan (638982) | about 2 years ago | (#39650769)

I agree they're not hard technically to fix. They are hard logistically. When there's one hole, you have to divert traffic from that lane for a period of time. You then need several pieces of heavy equipment to grind the surrounding road in order to make a rough surface for adhesion, heat and apply the asphalt mix, flatten it into place, and finally replace any damaged road striping. And if that pothole is seen by 100,000 people in a week, that's a lot of cars you inconvenience while doing your fix, so they'll get annoyed if you just plop down and fix a pothole that you find without putting out signs for a week that you'll be doing construction and they should find an alternate route. You're right that cities make other items higher priorities -- in some places it's transit, in other places it's exorbitant retirement pensions -- because you don't get voted into City Hall on the basis of potholes.

Re:Seems inferior to the current solution. (4, Interesting)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 2 years ago | (#39651097)

Not if you do it at night which is the only time you should ever do it.

Grocery stores restock at around 2AM. If they can get 20 guys to show up in a truck every night to unload and restock the shelves in a SINGLE store... I should think the city should be able to fill some god damn pot holes in the wee hours of the night. This is not complicated. It's obvious and easy.

Businesses across the country do disruptive things at night. Most server updates don't happen during business hours. They happen at midnight or 2 am.

If practically every business does this already, why can't the city? And don't give me that it's too many people. Think about how many people it takes to restock every grocery store in the city every night? That workforce ALONE dwarfs what the city would need to take care of pot holes several times over. And bargain grocery stores find the practice entirely economical.

The problem is not the asphalt. The problem is the city, the transit unions, and people that find it acceptable to leave pot holes unfilled for months on end.

Re:Seems inferior to the current solution. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650839)

it's crap like that is that makes Americans want SUVs.

SUVs suck at going over bumps. SUVs and sports cars come to dead stops before going over speed bumps. I've heard it's because SUVs are so bouncy (something you need to survive going off-road, but it makes bumps very uncomfortable). Me in my normal car, I hardly slow down for speed bumps. Sometime I even pass those morons in SUVs. Americans want SUVs because they look cool, period. If you ask them to list specs, some other vehicle is always better, but no one want to be seen in a mini-van, for example.

As a former Clevelander (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650391)

As a former Clevelander (and in fact, and alum of CWRU) I could see this being about the greatest thing since sliced bread. Every year the major roads form pot holes over the winter, and they sit there open until somebody gets a chance to fill them with asphalt. Seriously, Chester is a mess until sometime in June every year.

If they could put these down for a couple of weeks while the weather is too crappy to patch, it would save a lot of people a lot of wear and tear on their cars.

Can these even be patented? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650463)

IANAIPL (I am not an IP Lawyer), but I thought mixtures of liquids generally can't be patented.

Metal alloys can be patented because that's seen as somehow changing the "fundamental quality" of the metals, whilst something like fracking fluid is just a "mixture of liquids" and can only be covered as a Trade Secret. Someone confirm/deny?

Re:Can these even be patented? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39651849)

I thought mixtures of liquids generally can't be patented.

(Does a quick Google Patent Search on Bukakke) I think you're correct.

inverse problem (3, Insightful)

slew (2918) | about 2 years ago | (#39650613)

Instead of allowing people on highways to drive faster w/o damaging their cars, why not deploy them to cause damage to cars that are driving too fast.

Maybe this stuff can be used as a movable speed bumps in school zones and children play zones? If you drive slow enough, no problem. If you run over them too fast, you destroy your car's suspension. People are pointing out that it can be stolen, perhaps this mobility is just what you need for this problem. In the middle of the day (or the weekend), you can just move them away. That seems like this would be much more effective than the radar speed-signs that exist there now and less of a liability and expense for hiring lots of crossing guards. You might also sell this to HOAs that can't convince local fire departments to allow them to put in speed bumps or neighborhood groups that have lots of children playing in their front yards.

Dibs on the patent for this use case. ;^)

Can You Sue for Potholes? (1)

jmactacular (1755734) | about 2 years ago | (#39650623)

I think suing should be a last resort, but our roads just seem to be falling apart. It's like an obstacle course now. Can you sue the city for negligence for not maintaining these roads? There are real and expensive damages to our cars every day.

And why do we see so many potholes in the city, but not on the highway? Is it because they dig up the city roads every other day? Is there a better street architecture solution that would allow cable maintenance without digging up the roads?

Re:Can You Sue for Potholes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650869)

The money has to come from some where, and usually when people ask for an increase to road budgets, they get run out of town by the voters who expect these roads to self maintain.

Sometimes. (1)

Cyno01 (573917) | about 2 years ago | (#39651593)

Actually you can most places depending on the circumstances. If the pothole was reported and the city hadnt done anything about it in X number of days they can be held liable depending on local regulations.

Gravel? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650695)

How is this a better idea than filling a pothole with just loose gravel? It's cheaper, it can be easily emplaced, it can be easily reused (if you really want), and it resists deforming even better if I had to guess. They don't seem to have built a better mousetrap; just a more expensive one.

"Non-Newtonian" =/= shear-thickening (5, Informative)

manicb (1633645) | about 2 years ago | (#39650863)

I'm getting fed up of the constant references to the magical properties on "non-Newtonian" fluids. Non-Newtonian fluids have a huge range of properties in terms of their response to shear and change over time. This is constantly abused by geeks who should know better. Off the top of my head:

What people usually mean is a "shear-thickening" fluid such as corn starch and water. These become more effectively viscous in response to shear.

"Shear-thinning" fluids are *also* non-Newtonian, are fairly common, and have the exact opposite behaviour. Ketchup is a great example - shaking the bottle helps it flow more easily.

Another interesting case are Bingham plastics - these have a yield stress before they will flow. The classic example is toothpaste - it will stay as a lump on the bristles under its own weight, but spreads easily enough under pressure.

So the next time somebody wants to demonstrate non-Newtonian properties on their speaker cone, pass the ketchup!

Re:"Non-Newtonian" =/= shear-thickening (2)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#39651801)

Precisely. I was just chatting with the paving crew working out in front of my house about how they handled the various possible solutions for the viscous stress tensor.

Re:"Non-Newtonian" =/= shear-thickening (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39651897)

RTFA, it talks about ketchup and mayo. But it wouldn't be slashdot without complaining about nothing

Re:"Non-Newtonian" =/= shear-thickening (2)

Roger Wilcox (776904) | about 2 years ago | (#39651919)

I'm getting fed up of the constant references to the magical properties on "non-Newtonian" fluids. Non-Newtonian fluids have a huge range of properties in terms of their response to shear and change over time. This is constantly abused by geeks who should know better. Off the top of my head:

What people usually mean is a "shear-thickening" fluid such as corn starch and water. These become more effectively viscous in response to shear.

"Shear-thinning" fluids are *also* non-Newtonian, are fairly common, and have the exact opposite behaviour.

So you recognize that others are using the term "non-newtonian fluid" in a technically correct fashion, but you are frustrated by the fact that they do so without using more specific terminology? Furthermore, their choice of words amounts to some kind of abuse?

Come off it, really. Yes, you know more about the subject than others do--good for you. That you feel it necessary to speak out as you have only reveals the height of your hubris and the depth of your snobbery.

Most people will never have a need in their lives to understand these substances even in terms as specific as "non-newtonian." If you expect people to give a damn about something so esoteric, you are setting yourself up for this kind of frustration.

Also, if you had RTFA you would have seen that the author dedicated several paragraphs to non-newtonian fluids. He went into a good bit more detail than you have above.

Fail? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39651135)

Is it me or in the video the bag explodes at 0:42?

Dirt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39651197)

Obviously the more expensive option.

What if you're braking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39651865)

What happens if you happen to be on top of a patch when you hit the brakes? Will it tear the bag open and send you skidding?

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