Brazilian Scientists Develop New Porous Pavement

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Brazilian researchers have developed a new type of permeable pavement that can store rain water and ease the impacts of floods. They say the pavement could save lives and money in flood-prone countries around the world. Let's find out more.

With each passing year, rainy seasons in Brazil are getting stronger and stronger. So researchers at Brazil's University of Sao Paulo have developed an innovative permeable pavement which they say may be key to preventing floods.

Watching water levels rise to waist-height in minutes is common in Brazil. And according to hydraulics expert Afonso Luis Virgiliis, the porous pavement being tested at the university's parking lot could be the solution to this problem.

[Afonso Luis Virgiliis, Pavement Researcher]:
"In reality this is a drainage system. It is composed of a permeable coating and a series of granular layers that have stones of different sizes."

Pervious roads are basically made up of crushed stones, sand and asphalt binder.

They're widely used to prevent water build-up and runoff.

But the secret to this new pavement is under its surface coating.

Stones of different sizes are put side by side in a kind of trench under the surface.

This lets large volumes of water to be stored for longer periods during heavy showers.

[Afonso Luis Virgiliis, Pavement Researcher]:
"What happens is that when the rain falls over this coating, this coating allows the water to flow down through it and the water is stored in the empty spaces that exist between these stones. This storage is done in such way that when the rain stops, once it goes away, then the water stored in the grainy reserve is slowly driven out to the city's conventional drainage systems."

One of the downsides of this new system is the cost.

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