Concrete is typically vilified by environmentalists because of its high embodied footprint, but a new brand might change a few minds. As global temperatures continue to rise, record rainfall plagues some areas of the planet. The increase in rainfall stemming from coastal storms, along with tsunami-like waves, has caused deadly flooding this summer in places like Japan and the American midwest, and predictions for the coming years are just as grim. The ultra-porous concrete could help save lives during floods by absorbing 880 gallons of gushing water in just one minute. City planners and urban engineers probably don’t immediately think about concrete when they think about storm water management, but this “thirsty concrete” could help them rethink their future strategy.
UK-based Tarmac, which developed the high-tech concrete called Topmix Permeable, claims water drains through a permeable top layer composed of large pebbles, before filtering down to a loose base of rubble beneath. The water wicked from the street’s surface – up to 880 gallons a minute – is held underground in the lower layers of the concrete, which act as a reservoir. A drainage system can capture the water for reuse in irrigation or even to be cleaned for drinking water, swimming pools, firefighting, and wherever else water is needed.
Essentially, streets paved with thirsty concrete would mean an end to slippery puddles, no more wet pant legs, and no more soggy shoes. That’s a simple enough improvement, especially in crowded urban areas with heavy foot traffic. However, because this concrete is so incredibly thirsty, it could also have a substantial beneficial impact during flash flood conditions when people do not have enough advance warning to evacuate.
Via Science Alert