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The growth of potholes

  1. May 1, 2007 #1
    Asphalt potholes seem to have a self-fufillment to maximize their size. They tend to start in the most trafficked areas of a road so that avoiding them risks crossing the double yellow line into oncoming cars, or ramming the curb. Striking one increases its width, breadth and depth. Treacherous weather increases both the danger of driving and the frequency of "pavement fatigue."

    Some say that one should take a pothole head-on; others aver that attempting to circumvent them causes less damage. To patch a pothole attempts a temporary fix to its natural tendency toward undermining an unnatural structure.

    Do these road divots have physical analogs? What new can be done about these chaotic yet clever chuckholes, that seem to have a life of their own? I picture a drill that removes to a sufficient depth a circle of pavement encompassing the pothole, and replacing this detritus with appropriate layers of road material.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 1, 2007 #2


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    While that sounds reasonable on the surface, it wouldn't be practical. At the least, it would quadruple the amount of material used, and probably increase the time involved by a factor of 10. Going to that much trouble patching one hole would mean that a dozen others are getting no attention at all, and the repair probably wouldn't be much more permanent. I don't know what it's like where you live, but in Calgary the 'pothole patrol' works all night long just to keep up. Frequently, they end up having to do a lot in daytime to, which really messes up traffic.
  4. May 1, 2007 #3
    Wave reinforcement beats paved reinforcement every time.

    Nice topic. An interesting PhD paper lurking in there somewhere.
  5. May 2, 2007 #4


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    Is that supposed to make some sort of sense? :confused:
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