It’s no secret that potholes are a huge pain in India. While we may grumble that it’s because of cheap building materials or inefficient labor, the truth is that roads just naturally decay over time. But now, a team of scientists from the Netherlands believe they have the answer to prevent potholes from even forming.
Schlangen’s technique mixes in tiny steel fibres into the asphalt mixture being laid, to make the finished road conductive. The idea is that, you can run a large induction magnet over the surface of the road, and the heat blasted onto its surface is conducted all the way through by the steel fibres. Sunshine can provide some of that heat by itself, but Schlangen’s tests so far say that’s not enough, though India’s tropical temperatures might be more conducive. This heat then warms up the entire asphalt, causing it to settle and thereby fill up and close close any cracks on its own. Sure, it’s not technically self-healing, seeing as it requires an induction machine, but it’s certainly cheaper, faster, and much less disruptive to traffic than closing a stretch of road for a few days to conduct repairs.
Dutch Research In Self-Healing Materials Could One Day Eliminate India’s Pothole Problems [indiatimes]