The future of pothole repair is Silly Putty

pot hole

Pot holes pepper highways everywhere.

Fixing a hole in a road should be easy—but the fact that our nation’s highways are littered with potholes is testament to the fact that it’s not quite as straightforward as it sounds. But a new solution, inspired by silly putty, could make our streets much smoother in the future.

In fact, the idea—developed by students from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland—has won an engineering contest, reports Science. But prize-winning or not, the idea of mending a road with something like silly putty sounds like madness, right?

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The Amazing Origin of Silly Putty

silly6666666

The ever versatile Silly Putty.

Silly Putty was invented by accident when GE engineer James Wright was working to develop new types of rubber for the US military during World War II.

Wright spent over a year experimenting with different combinations of chemical compounds, hoping to produce a synthetic, “hard rubber” silicone that could withstand the high heat of jet engines or the freezing cold of nights on Navy ships…

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‘Mussel Gel’ Can Repair Tissue and Bond Medical Implants

mussel

Mussel byssus enables mussel to surfaces even in water.

A new gel that the inventors say you can play with like Silly Putty, can repair torn skin, bond implants, or act as an adhesive for underwater machinery.  The invention, under development for several years, is now patent pending, and it’s all thanks to the biomimicry of a mussel’s byssus, the hair-size filaments that form a sticky foam enabling the mussel’s fierce attachment to rocks, substrates, and beds on the sea walls and floors.

 

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