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A Netherlands-based company has designed a series of water-permeable tiles that offer an alternative solution to significant infrastructure for avoiding flooding in urban centres.

Rainaway’s tiles are a combination of solid and porous concrete that are designed intentionally to slow and control rainwater runoff. The tiles consist of a whimsical pattern of solid concrete which sits on top of a layer of ultra-porous concrete to form a grid of collection pools. Runoff water is then trapped in the collection pools and encouraged to gently drain through the porous concrete and into a gravel reservoir below.

While pervious concrete and paving is by no means new, and there are plenty of Australian companies that offer a version of the technology, Rainaway’s product and UK-company Tarmac claim to be addressing some of the major issues traditionally associated with specifying permeable concrete.

The major drawcard for Tarmac’s products for example is the speed at which their ultra-porous concrete recipe can absorb water and its applicability for large-scale infrastructure. Their Topmix Permeable can drain 4,000 litres of water in 60 seconds and has an average permeability rate of 600 litres, per minute, per sqm. They also offer an asphalt version and market their products for use on roads, carparks, footpaths and other large-scale projects.

The technology is being hailed by some as a significant part of the future of urban water runoff management in warm climates and places at risk of flash flooding. However, there are limitations to the product, for example Topmix Permeable can’t be used in cold climates because of expansion from freezing and permeable concrete is nototriously difficult to clean. 

Images: Rainaway Source: ArchDaily