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Clever concrete could make puddles a thing of the past

Wet roads make life more dangerous for motorists, but it seems there might be a solution in the form of a special concrete mix.

Known as Topmix Permeable, this specially designed concrete is porous so it can drink up to 4,000 litres of water in the first 60 seconds and an average of 600 litres per minute, per metre squared. 

The result is water passing through the permeable layer on top comprised relatively large pebbles almost instantly. Below that is an ‘attenuation layer’, which feeds the water back into reservoirs so none of it is wasted.

Concrete that is able to let water pass through is nothing new, but UK company Tarmac’s creation is unique in that the top layer can withstand the weight of heavy traffic, which means it could be used for roads.

There are a number of benefits to using the system, including doing away with drains, keeping roads cooler in the summer, reducing road maintenance costs, preventing flooding and keeping unlucky pedestrians from being splashed by cars driving through puddles. 

Sadly, however, there is one big negative that limits its usefulness. Freezing temperatures could damage the system and stop it from working, meaning it is really only viable in countries where winters are relatively tame. Not the UK, then.

Tarmac’s Topmix Permeable may sound dull as ditchwater, but the following video of it absorbing 4,000 litres of the stuff is anything but.

Tarmac Topmix Permeable video

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