A researcher at Washington State University holds a sample of permeable, carbon fiber infused concrete that lets water drain naturally.Carbon fiber can be found in airplanes, cars and wind turbine blades these days. Unfortunately, about 30% of this miracle material is waste product. Figuring out what to do with much waste carbon fiber has been a problem for the industry, as many of the most popular methods require lots of energy or processing.

But researchers at Washington State University have discovered a way to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. Their new permeable concrete not only reuses this carbon fiber waste material, but helps solve the growing stormwater run-off problem as well.

The researchers have found a way to make strong pavement that also drains water off naturally. While attempts have been made to use pervious concrete in the past, it was only suitable for parking lots, not high-traffic roads and highways.

Enter carbon fiber composites. By adding composite scrap they received from Boeing into the pervious concrete mix, the resulting material proved durable, strong and porous. The result is a material that can take the punishment of traffic, but still drain quickly.

Now that the material has proven itself in the lab, researchers are working with contractors to run real-world tests on pavement applications as well as figure out how to create a supply chain to ensure an adequate supply of the new concrete mix to the industry.

Read more in Eureka Alert.