IN: Inspiration


Is the age of flood damage over? Water-absorbing concrete could be the solution!


A fantastic new concrete innovation from UK-based building materials and solutions company, Tarmac, could see a major shift in the construction of urban environments. Topmix Permeable boasts the unique ability of absorbing large quantities of water in a very short space of time. In so doing, it can drastically help combat the large-scale damage and dangers caused by flooding.

Traditional concrete is able to absorb 300 millimeters of water per hour and is geared towards withstanding a major storm every hundred years. Nowadays, global temperatures are rising rapidly and climate adjustments have led to increased precipitation in the atmosphere. Heavy storms such as Hurricane Dean and Tropical Storm Erin, which devastated the American Midwest in 2007, put human lives and homes at risk as well as resulting in damage of up to $549 million – that’s roughly R7 billion!

Topmix Permeable offers a solution through its unique ability to let up to 36,000 millimeters of water pass through it per hour. Many drainage systems make use of a permeable layer below the surface, however, Tarmac has pioneered new technology that allows for porous concrete to be efficiently used as a surface layer. Although permeable pavements are not an entirely new idea - they have been used in urban planning for roughly the last ten years - problems have persisted due to the fact that blockages result from water and dirt mixing together and therefore greatly reducing permeability.

Tarmac makes use of concrete that is made up of more durable granite to ensure that the concrete remains porous over time. The surface layer is comprised of relatively large pebbles, allowing water to easily drain through, followed by an attenuation layer in which water may be collected and then funneled through to a local sanitation system.

Not only is water preserved and can be re-used for a variety of purposes, but the solution also deals with the overflow of surface water that increasingly poses a threat to modern cities.

Check out the video to see how it works:

And now think about other ways to use this breakthrough technology…

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