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‘Thirsty’ concrete developed to absorb water

13th October 2015 by Sean Couldwell Concrete 0 comments

Tarmac, a building materials and solutions firm based in the UK, has created a new type of concrete that has the ability to soak up a copious amount of water.

This type of porous concrete is able to take in around 4,000 litres of water within the first 60 seconds, with an average intake of 600 litres per minute for each square meter of concrete.

This Topmix concrete is designed to work by having a permeable layer on top of the concrete flooring, which is made up of a set of fairly big pebbles in which water can almost instantaneously drain. This is then followed by the insertion of another ‘attenuation layer’, which then feeds the captured water into a drainage system that would be further connected to a city’s groundwater reservoir.

This means all of the water that encounters this system would then be fed back into the area’s systems for irrigation, swimming pools, firefighter services and even drinking water.

Although permeable concrete has been available for over 50 years, it has been mostly used to assist drainage underneath paved concrete flooring. The research team at Tarmac has designed a new surface layer version of the material that is also capable of withstanding weight from heavy traffic, making it an intriguing product.

The super-absorbent material is believed to be suitable for use in conjunction with existing concrete materials. However, the product is susceptible to freezing, which would essentially destroy any system that is frozen. Therefore, this form of concrete can only be used in places where temperatures are unlikely to dip that low.

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