Why do potholes form?

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Potholes are formed because of changes in weather. Normally the time between the winter end and beginning of the spring will trigger the formation of potholes that are of various sizes and shapes. Potholes might also lead to the damage of the cars and other vehicles. The road might have small cracks already while the rain and snow will dampen the road further. When vehicles move on the cracks and enhance them it results in road damage. The increase in size of the cracks might lead to the formation of potholes. Potholes are formed usually because of the roads made of asphalt breaking due to heat during the day. The roads become loosened and soft due to the rain water. The roads also break due to the heavy traffic that creates continuous stress.

It is observed that potholes are created on roads at the places where frost is not formed as well as in places where there is no traffic. The potholes are seen in the roads which are not covered with asphalt surfaces and which do not have any cracks. There might be few reasons for the road to start getting weakened like mechanical load, unevenness on the surface, and thermal cycling.  This loosened and softened road will slowly break due to the traffic creating lot of stress on the area.

The pavements on the roads will become too wet when the temperature of the atmosphere is very less. The molten snow during the day passes into the small crevices that exist on the road. When the temperature again fall, the water in the crevices freezes and expands. This makes the area widened gradually and it happens until the winter gets over and spring sets in. Every time the water freezes, the area expands and results in the formation of the pothole. When the spring sets in, the water that was frozen will melt and gets evaporated. But, the potholes will get retained like that and probably get widened still more due to heavy traffic.

Author: Hari M

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