Innovation is a tricky thing to track. Everyone talks about it, but it’s almost impossible to predict where it will happen, or what it will be. But you know it when you see it.
And so it is with a new invention out of Case Western University. A group of five undergraduate students at the Cleveland school have come up with a potentially brilliant solution to a nagging problem. They’ve built a better pothole patch.
They’ve done it with something called a non-Newtonian fluid. Without getting too technical, a non-Newtonian fluid is a material that acts like a liquid in some situations, and a solid in others – like the ketchup that stays stubbornly stiff when you shake the bottle, but pours out evenly when you coax it with a butter knife.
Another example is a mixture of cornstarch and water, which appears to be a liquid, but acts like a solid if you run across it. If you’ve never seen how this works, it’s pretty incredible.
The Case Western students took this principle, and applied it to potholes. Continue reading