How are potholes in the road formed? Seems like there’s nothing then one day 50 potholes overnight.


How are potholes in the road formed? Seems like there’s nothing then one day 50 potholes overnight.

In: Chemistry

Snow plow trucks tear the road up in one pass, or water gets in cracks then freezes and the next morning thaws loosening up multiple spots on the road. They get pulverized by traffic quite fast (imagine over a 1000 cars drive over some loose asphalt chunks within a short period of time)

So the road expands and shrinks as it heats and cools. This cycle, along with a metric boatload of traffic, creates weak points in the road that eventually result in cracks. Once the cracks form, water can get inside them. In the summer it’s not a big deal, but in the winter the water freezes and expands, which then significantly weakens sections of the road. Then the plows come over and are basically applying a literal truckload of force on the road, and if you hit a section that’s weak and not well aligned with the rest of the road it just knocks the whole section out of the road.

Okay, someone explain for places where the temperature never falls below 20 degrees Celsius.

I work for a road construction company in Florida. The other comments about freeze/thaw and expansion/contraction are correct. I also wanted to add that the asphalt of the road, at least here, is made in 2 layers. The bottom layer is stronger and more solid. The top layer is usually thinner and porous, to prevent rain water from puddling. When the traffic load and other forces wear out the top layer it tends to flake off.

Continued forces on a flaked sections only make it worse until it ruts out further. Once the pavement is weak enough to crack and rut it can happen anywhere on the road. This is why potholes will seem to spring up everywhere.

Roads are like petri dishes for nature to do her work on. As road are exposed to rain, snow, and other precipitates, the road erodes as road are nothing but a refined layer of a clump of rocks that is flat ,and as rocks erode when water flows over them *cough* *cough* glaciers, the road suffers from this and a part or clump of rocks go away each time this happens. Also, when we heat up something, it takes up more place or area and when we cool something, it comes together and becomes harder like ice. So, since we have weather and stuff all the time, the rocks that make up the road do exactly this, but since rocks break up when we hit them with something, parts of the road become weak and form a hole like structure. this is a pothole.