What is a pothole?

Most people have encountered a pothole, either as a road user or pedestrian. Potholes are ‘a depression or hollow in a road surface caused by wear or subsidence’. They are, very simply, parts of a road surface that have become damaged over time through cracking or wear.

Depending on the overall condition of the road and severity of the damage, a pothole can range from just a few inches wide or deep to several inches deep and more than a few inches wide.

How is a pothole formed?

On old, or heavily used, road surfaces potholes form as a result of wear and tear. On busy roads, it is inevitable that the unrelenting flow of traffic will have some impact on a road surface, and potholes are a common manifestation of that.

When vehicles repeatedly drive over a surface, the friction between the tires and the roadway heats up the surface and it expands. When this happens repeatedly, cracks can form in the surface. If these surface cracks were to happen in a vacuum, it wouldn’t be too much of a problem. However, there are other forces at work. One, in particular, that we cannot escape from in this country. And that is rain.

When cracks form in a road surface and it rains, the water seeps into the cracks. Overnight, when temperatures plummet (especially in winter) this water freezes and expands, gradually widening the cracks and weakening the surfacing materials. When the water melts it leaves larger cracks which can easily become potholes as the weight of vehicles push down into the top layer of the roadway.

Even if the rainwater that finds its way through cracks in a road surface isn’t subject to this ‘freeze/thaw’ action, it still has the potential to erode the materials which the roadbed is composed of, which leads to the formation of potholes.

What are the dangers of potholes?

According to a news report from the Independent, potholes cost UK drivers around £4.09 billion a year on car repairs.

Common damage to vehicles inflicted by potholes include flat tires (or other tire damage), damage to rims, suspension or steering and (in some cases) damage to a car’s exterior. Hitting a pothole at any sort of speed can also affect the wheel alignment of a vehicle which can have a significant impact on how quickly tires wear and perform.

Pothole repair from BituChem

At BituChem, we have developed superior surface technology that allows for fast, efficient, safe and effective pothole repairAirPatch, an engineered sprayed application designed by us, works to repair potholes and other surface deformations for durable highway repairs.

Our highway emulsion, used in tandem with our partner’s mobile patch repair system, can be used for both planned and emergency pothole repair in order to keep roads moving and drivers safe.

For more information about pothole repair solutions from BituChem, please contact us today.