Watch: ‘Thirsty’ Concrete Drinks 4,000 Litres of Water in 60 Seconds

Topmix Permeable concrete is able to absorb 4,000 Litres (880 Gallons) of water in 60 seconds. This incredible video shows the concrete making huge amounts of water seemingly disappear upon hitting the ground. Super permeable paving materials such as this could help to combat the problem of flash flooding in urban areas – and help to remove all those annoying puddles on roads and bicycle lanes.

Topmix Permeable allows water to rapidly drain through the paving system, rather than sit on top and eventually evaporate or drain away. Developed by Tarmac, the concrete has a permeable layer on top that permits water to quickly drain through to another quick draining layer of pebbles and a base of rubble below. Within the rubble, drainage channels increase the amount of water directed away from the surface and back into the earth, thus helping to recharge groundwater resources.

In addition to fighting the problem of flash flooding, this concrete could help to reduce the temperature of paved surfaces in hot weather. ‘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 a statement.

The idea of permeable surface materials is not a new concept. However, Tarmac claims what is truly innovative here is that Topmix can be used in high volume parking lots and on busy roadways as it is able to withstand the compression that comes from the weight of cars driving over its surface.

What is left to be resolved however is the application of this material in extremely cold temperatures as the concrete is prone to damage when water beneath its surface freezes, causing the surface to buckle and crack.

Concrete may be perceived as a boring material by many, but innovations such as this could quickly begin to change minds!