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'Thirsty' Concrete Drinks Rainwater, Eliminates Flooding

Concrete isn't exactly a sexy topic. Even though we drive on it and build things with it, the average person seldom gives the gray stuff a second thought.

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Until, of course, you find out that someone has invented 'thirsty' concrete, a kind of super-absorbent material that could solve Saigon's flood woes.

Enter Tarmac, the UK-based company responsible for Topmix Permeable, a concrete capable of drinking up to 4,000 liters of water in a minute, The Daily Mail reports.

Instead of sitting atop the asphalt, water seeps beneath the road's porous surface and down through several layers of small stones. The result is pretty miraculous: in a promotional video for the new product, a cement truck dumps 4,000 liters of water onto a newly finished Topmix Permeable surface, and almost as soon as the water hits the ground, it's gone.

According to the company, this type of surface could be used not only to reduce the kind of flash flooding that a place like Saigon knows all too well but also to cool tarmacs 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 Daily Mail quoted Tarmac as saying.

While the idea of permeable road surfaces has been around for a while, new advances in the technology allow Tarmac's Topmix Permeable to hold up under the weight of cars and other vehicles, giving it great potential for roadways in flood-prone areas.

The Daily Mail, too, hails the product as “ideal for large areas of concrete where water can be a problem” – like driveways, parking lots and, of course, all of Saigon.

Check out the thirsty concrete in this video set to incredibly upbeat music:

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