Agawam High School InvenTeam
Potholes damage roads and vehicles during the winter and cause poor driving conditions. It costs large sums of money for cities to repair the infrastructure and car owners to repair damage to their vehicles.
The Agawam High School InvenTeam decided to create a device that detects potential potholes before they become problematic and preserves existing roads by filling abscesses that would become potholes.
The team's invention, the Road Iron, is a culmination of radar, mechanics, electronics and chemistry. It uses a Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) system mounted on the front of a vehicle to sense the presence of water deposits, which cause potholes. When the Road Iron senses water deposits, it electronically marks the pockets, drills them with the drilling device, and fills them with the filling device.
The Agawam High School InvenTeam wanted to create the Road Iron to benefit its community. The team contacted GeoPhysical Survey Systems Inc. to learn more about GPR units. Kenneth Corcoran, in GSSI Applications, explained to the team how essential test beds were for experimentation. The team researched different types of filling methods and decided on filler to use for the prevention and repair of potholes. It contacted the town highway department, town engineer, and school superintendent to obtain permission to build an official test bed on school grounds, following the proper specifications. The test bed was used to examine abnormalities in the road surface. After a series of tests, the students began construction of the Road Iron. They also worked to apply for a patent and began brainstorming the marketing process.