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Concrete ‘Drinks’ Water on Its Surface

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

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Parking lot and driveway puddles could be a thing of the past if a type of “thirsty” permeable concrete takes off.

The Topmix Permeable concrete by Tarmac can absorb 880 gallons of water in 60 seconds, according to a recent article in the Daily Mail. The concrete not only could help prevent puddles from forming, it also could help prevent flash flooding in areas where that is a problem, according to the article.

The daily newspaper said the concrete solution works by having a permeable layer of concrete on the surface that allows the water to seep through large pebbles and into a loose base of rubble.

Tarmac's Topmix Permeable concrete product appears to drink water as its layers help drain water that's on the surface through large pebbles underneath.

A video of the material at work shows the permeable concrete absorbing 880 gallons (4,000 liters) of water in about 60 seconds. The Daily Mail notes that most of the water disappears as soon as it hits the ground.

Flood, Heat Repellant

Tarmac said on its website that the product not only could help flash flooding problems, it also might help to reduce the temperature of concrete surfaces in hot weather.

“Permeable concrete allows surface water to freely drain through the wearing surface to the underlying ground with the ability to act as a reservoir during periods of high downfall,” the company said in its Permeable Concrete Solutions Guide.


The company lists possible uses as sports pitches, sub-bases, cycle paths, parking lots, driveways and sidewalks.

“During these periods this characteristic can aid in delaying the discharge of surface water into water courses or drainage systems reducing the risk of overwhelming systems and causing flash flooding. During periods of rising temperatures and intense rainfall, water stored within the system evaporates creating a cooling effect reducing surface temperatures,” the company said in its guide.


The company lists possible uses as sports pitches, sub-bases, cycle paths, parking lots, driveways and sidewalks.

The Daily Mail said the concept of permeable concrete has been around for about 60 years as an under paving. But as the paper notes, Tarmac has stated it now can be used as a top surface and is strong enough to withstand vehicle use.


Tagged categories: Bridge/parking deck waterproofing; Concrete; Roads/Highways; Video

Comment from Sarah Geary, (9/30/2015, 8:11 AM)

I'd like to know what happens when the water freezes. If this could eliminate slipping hazards in parking lots in winter, I know a lot of people who would be thankful.

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