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Science: 

‘Thirsty’ concrete could prevent floods with appetite for rainwater

thirsty-concrete-absorbs-water-1

I drink your milkshake. I drink it up!

Innovation in concrete probably isn’t something you expected to be reading about today, and believe us when we say it’s not something we thought we’d be writing about either – yet here we are.

Guys, there’s a new type of concrete made by Tarmac, and you’re going to want to hear all about it.

It’s being referred to as ‘thirsty’ concrete, and after you’ve watched it drink up hundreds of gallons worth of water in a matter of minutes you’ll begin to see how it earned its nickname. Using a new super-absorbant technology, the surface could help clear roads, and, more significantly, ease the damage caused by severe flooding.

Before we spend any more time describing concrete, have a look at what we’re talking about below;

You see? We told you you’d want to hear all about it..

Go on then. How does it work?

The concrete consists of dual layers – first, a permeable layer made of large pebbles, followed by an ‘attenuation layer’ that connects to the water’s groundwater reservoirs. The first layer works to drain and slow the flow of water, while the second is a further drainage system which feeds the water back into the system. Crucially, then, no water is wasted.

As well as providing magic-like drainage, the concrete is also much cooler than other kinds in hot conditions. A statement from Tarmac said this is because of water stored within the system that evaporates in the sun to create a cooling effect.

That all sounds mightily impressive. You might even describe it as the best concrete you’ve ever seen (top 5, at least) – but there is a catch.

Should the water stored inside the system ever freeze, the ice works like kryptonite and quickly destroys its super-absorbant powers. So, as it is, the technology is only suitable in countries where the temperature won’t drop below zero.

Amazingly, this isn’t the only concrete-related innovation we’ve written about this year. Back in May, a Dutch scientist managed to create a ‘self-healing‘ version of the material that can mend its own cracks.

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