Does Permeable Concrete have potential?


Ben Leipholtz

A British materials solution company has been developing a new form of concrete capable of absorbing far more water than standard concrete. Tarmac has been developing its product Topmix Permeable for the last six years. While standard concrete abosorbs around about 300 mm of water per hour, Topmix is capable of absorbing 880 gallons of water per minute, equivalant to 36,000 mm. Topmix is not a sand based concrete, instead it uses much larger pieces of crushed granite that allow for more drainage space between “particles”. Topmix has performed best in areas with a speed limit under 30 mph with light to medium traffic, but has not done well in colder climates.

First off, Topmix certainly has the potential to benefit certain areas of the world, such as those that receive high amounts of rainfall or have general problems with roadways becoming subject to floods. However, the product’s expensive upfront investment may hinder its ability to be used in parts of the world that need it most, such as certain areas of India affected by annual monsoons. So perhaps Topmix is not necessarily meant to be a replacement for an existing product, but a new product that can pioneer its own applications.

Topmix may not be feasible for many roadways due to high cost and low traffic speed, but it certainly could be used in many other applications such as parking lots, bicycle paths, and outdoor sport courts. This could open doors to allow cyclists to ride in all kinds of weather, or allow a basketball game to be played during a downpour.




One comment

  1. haylee430

    Though this seems like a really good idea I see a lot of flaws. The chunks of granite look like it would be really rough on cars and bikes. Yes, we could make bike paths out of this material but would the bike ride be enjoyable or would people try and avoid this path? If a material is this expensive and unenjoyable clients probably wouldn’t want to use it.

    I don’t think the material is a total waste, if there were some changes it would be a super innovating concept. If there was a way to make the granite chunks smaller and to smooth the surface this could be something used in places of high rain for roads or bike ways, but granite also seems very slippery, especially if its smooth. It seems that a different material would be needed for the upper layer used to drive on but then allowing open parts to the granite underneath so that rain water will go away.

    This material doesn’t have to be used for road ways or bike ways either, maybe it’s just a material used to add to buildings. Maybe the outline of the walkway is this material. This concrete is really cool looking, black, and is also granite which is highly talked about in homes. If this material was incorporated into a structure as more of a decoration I think It would work well.

    With more research and manipulations this material could be something of the future and could eventually end up being very popular in places where rain in common but as of right now it seems to have many flaws

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