how are pot holes created?



how are pot holes created?

In: Engineering

All things degrade over time and with usage. Clothes eventually rip or fade, pencils snap, cars break down, all because of the innumerable tiny defects and damages accumulated over the lifespan of the item. Roads are no different. As cars drive over them, the extreme weight puts stress on the road, which slowly damages it. More prominently, constant exposure to weather can damage roads (in particular, water seeping into cracks in the road and then freezing can cause a lot of damage very quickly). When one particular stretch of road sustains a lot of this wearing down, the cracks get larger, and the largest ones get big enough to be considered potholes.

Also, if the ground underneath the road changes, this can cause the road to move, creating potholes.


Water gets in underneath the road and mixes with the soil. Then when a car drives over the road the increase in pressure pushes the water and some of the soil out.the water then seeps back in but the soil doesn’t (it settles out in the slow moving water thats flowing back under the road) you repeat this process over and over and in the end the road collapses into the whole. Because of this process filling a pot hole back up is a temporary solution because the process will continue to happen. On an unpaved road the process is similar except instead you have a puddle which a car goes through and splashes out water and soil creating a deeper hole.

Water seeps through the asphalt, and into the dirt underneath. This makes the now wet dirt compress a bit, leaving a hole beneath the asphalt. When enough cars drive over the road, asphalt above gets pushed down and crushed into the hole. Governments could mostly avoid this by making super thick and sturdy roads that almost never fail (see Germany), but most have decided that it’s not worth the extra money and it’s easier to just patch up potholes when they appear (a founding principle of the state of New Jersey).