A new kind of pavement could do wonders for areas prone to flooding and heavy rainfall. The material, called Topmix Permeable, is porous and can absorb 4,000 liters of water in just 60 seconds. So instead of sitting on top of the concrete and forming puddles or dangerous pools, the water quickly vanishes into the ground, where it is funneled into the city’s drainage system to be recycled.
What makes Topmix Permeable unique is the absence of smaller pebbles and sand that make regular concrete dense and impenetrable. When you take those two things out of the mix, what’s left are relatively large pebbles that allow water to seep through.
“The system can also help filter contaminants, such as motor oil, out of water — the multiple layers of porous stone essentially act as a giant filter,” writes Emily Matchar at Smithsonian. And Tarmac says it could help create a cooling effect in summer months by allowing stored water to evaporate.
Topmix Permeable is about the same price as regular concrete options, but isn’t yet available in the U.S.
This section of the article was interesting to me due to it’s unique relationship to water. The ability to let water pass through concrete while remaining stable for humans to walk on and drive across could be very useful. It would be amazing to see how this could improve our roads in the US.
There are ways to design around perceived limitations – concrete does not have to be “dense.”
By experimenting with material and form, there are many creative possibilities with concrete as a material