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Tech Spot #27: Permeable concrete, United Kingdom

Monday 02 Nov 2015
 

Thirsty concrete could cut flooding

 
Tech Spot #27: Permeable concrete by Lafarge Tarmac in United Kingdom
 
 
Tech Spot #27: Permeable concrete by Lafarge Tarmac in United Kingdom
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The top layer of a new form of concrete is made up of bonded pebbles, with large gaps between them through which water can flow 

With winter approaching in the UK, Lafarge Tarmac has come up with a potential solution to flooding: permeable concrete. This remarkable material can absorb 1,000 litres of water per sq m every minute. This could go a long way towards minimising the threat of flash flooding, especially in our towns and cities.

The firm has been investigating permeable surfaces following a new set of UK building regulations that require new constructions to have sustainable drainage. When water hits this new concrete instead of gathering in pools on the surface it simply disappears.

The top layer of the concrete is bonded pebbles, with large gaps between them through which the water can flow eventually soaking into the ground below. However it is strong enough to take the weight of cars and won’t be broken up by tyres.

Responding to fears of greater flooding as global warming takes hold, the company say its product could be used in everything from parking lots to tennis courts and residential roads.

But wouldn't dirt clog up the concrete after a while?

The company said that there would have to be an "unrealistic amount of dirt applied to the surface for the pavement to cease functioning effectively," though it did warn against using the product in areas where sawdust is stockpiled or where there are heavy silt loads such as large recycling centres.

In addition to preventing flooding the concrete will be kept cooler in summer and less icy in winter. Surface water freezing would no longer occur because it would not gather in pools on the surface.

Click here for a full list of previous Tech Spots.

Nick Myall

News Editor

Lafarge Tarmac
 
ECOWAN
 

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