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News From The Future-21

Pt 919

Silly Putty for Potholes @ ScienceNOW:

So-called 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. Pour it on top of a speaker cone, and the vibrations cause the fluid to stiffen and form strange tendril-like shapes. Now, a group of college students has figured out a new use for the strange stuff: filler for potholes.

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.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.



  1. Bongodrummer says:

    Sounds great, and full of possibilities, but…
    What happens when it rains? The obvious question and hopefully they have a solution. I must find out moor…

    1. daWolf says:

      Next question I think would be…What happens when a vehicle wrests upon the pot hole? If it’s a road that has stop and go traffic, a vehicle could stop on top of it. Would it squeeze the filler out of the hole? It then becomes a speed bump right before encountering a pot hole.