The genesis of washboard roads

Douglas A. Kurtze, Daniel C. Hong, Joseph A. Both

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


We consider a model of cars driving along a compressible or erodible road. Each car is modeled as a mass supported above a wheel by a damped spring. We find conditions under which a flat road surface is unstable and gives way to a regular pattern of corrugations. The instability is mitigated by the damping of the cars' springs and also by the tendency of the road surface to harden as it is compressed. Similar phenomena occur in railroad rails and in calendaring of paper.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3344-3346
Number of pages3
JournalInternational Journal of Modern Physics B
Issue number24-25
StatePublished - Oct 10 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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