Feeds

Boffins splash fluids on special soggy biscuits in anti-flood demo

China's 'Silicon Valley' builds bricks that let water IN

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Chinese boffins from Beijing’s "Silicon Valley" are showing off innovative anti-flood technology – bricks that actually let the water in.

Rechsand Science and Technology Group demoed the soggy bricks at its base in Zhongguancun Science Park – home to big-name domestic tech firms Lenovo, Sina and Baidu as well as international giants Google, Microsoft, Sony, and others.

In a carefully stage-managed press event engineered to show off the best of Chinese scientific ingenuity ahead of the 18th Communist Party Congress, Rechsand chairman Qin Shengyi explained that the bricks use a special material to make the desert sand inside the blocks permeable to water. Pavements and roads built with the bricks could therefore allow the water to seep away underground rather than build up and flood homes and offices, for instance.

Such drastic measures are needed in many Chinese cities where flooding is not uncommon during heavy downpours due to inefficient drainage systems. This was highlighted catastrophically in July when heavy flooding in Beijing led to the deaths of more than 70 locals.

"None of the places using my permeable bricks were paralysed by the heavy rain in July because the rainwater could penetrate the bricks immediately and drained down to the underground rainfall-gathering system," said Qin, according to China Daily.

The saturated bricks can also help keep city centre temperatures down during the summer by allowing water to evaporate – thus limiting what’s known as the “heat island” effect. There’s also a green angle to this clunky innovation: the same water retention technology is apparently being used to sustain plant life in desert regions.

Rechsand has planted 667 hectares of trees and grass in regions including Gansu province (home to various bits of desert) and Inner Mongolia, starting two years ago, and at least 90 per cent managed to survive, Qin told reporters.

The soggy brick project is being touted as yet another success story for Zhongguancun and China. Companies based in the science park apparently recorded 1.96tr yuan ($313.6bn) in sales last year, a 23 percent year-on-year increase. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.