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Goodbye, Potholes! “Thirsty” Concrete Sucks Up Hundreds of Gallons of Water in Mere Seconds

Topmix Permeable is a new type of super-absorbent concrete designed to soak up nearly 900 gallons of water in only one minute! Streets paved with this special, ‘thirsty’ concrete will not flood during storms, and they’ll also remain free of puddles and potholes.

Lafarge Tarmac, the company that developed the technology, uses relatively large pebbles to make a permeable top layer of concrete. Water that hits the surface will seep through the matrix into a loose base of rubble underneath. Drainage channels are worked into the rubble, to help increase the amount of water absorbed.

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According to the company, Topmix Permeable can help tackle flash flooding in urban areas, and also help reduce heating of tarmac in hot weather. During periods of heavy rain, the underlying ground can also act as a reservoir. “During these periods, this characteristic can aid in delaying the discharge of surface water into water courses or drainage systems reducing the risk of overwhelming systems and causing flash flooding,” they revealed. “Water stored within the system evaporates creating a cooling effect reducing surface temperatures.”

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The concept of permeable itself isn’t new – it has been in use for at least 60 years underneath paving to help in drainage – but Lafarge Tarmac claims that they’ve improved the technology so that it can be used as a top surface capable of withstanding the weight of heavy vehicles. The system, they say, is ideal for large areas of concrete, where water can be a problem – like car parks or driveways. It isn’t suitable to use in areas with extremely low temperatures though, because the concrete could get damaged when the water beneath it freezes.

 

So far, Topmix Permeable has been installed in a car park and a golf course in High Wycombe, a town in Buckinghamshire, England.