Boffins splash fluids on special soggy biscuits in anti-flood demo
China's 'Silicon Valley' builds bricks that let water IN
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. ®
Re: Volume issue, amongst other things.
You're missing the point here. That brick isn't for your basement, it's for the streets / walkways outside to let water seep through underground before it gets to your basement, instead of flowing and accumulating (and eventually getting to your basement).
Re: Porous bricks with impurities designed to collect and hold impure water
As far as I can make out, water permeable brick has been widely used in China but often cheaply sourced from any number of suppliers, and frost damage has resulted in 'crunchy bricks'. These bricks are different, if the machine translation is to be believed:
"destruction of the surface tension of water permeable, and toughness, the expansion force, compressive strength, freeze-thaw resistance. This technology also won the first prize of Beijing Science and Technology Invention"
Areas in the business park paved with this brick have survived ten winters. It turns out that millions of dollars and several years research give this company more of an insight in frost damaged bricks than a commentard, shock horror.
Other gems include:
"Permeable brick once the weight will damage the park road is not allowed to re-enter the car."
" Try new tactics to children: sidewalk to find parallel lane"
Rain + city = problem
Talking to a friend who works for town planning the other day; she pointed out a extremely thing which I had never thought about before: paved surfaces do not absorb water, and that water has to *go* somewhere. Which means it needs to be managed.
They just dug a huge hole in a nearby park for precisely this purpose. A huge rainwater tank was installed in the hole and then it was turfed over. This is for buffering outflow from the nearby rainwater collection systems, because the various mechanisms for getting *rid* of the water --- piping it into rivers, soakaways etc --- couldn't do so quickly enough to manage heavy rainfall.
These bricks would allow water to permeate through paved surfaces and directly into the ground below. i.e. you're turning an entire road into a soakaway. This means you'll get far less runoff, which means far less water to manage, which also means fewer flash floods as the rainwater catchment systems overflow.
An excellent idea, if they can make it work.