A research funded by European Union, led by experts from University of Sheffield and Imperial college of London in association with European Tyre Recycling Association, has concluded that all tyre components can be reused in concrete.
Researchers are voicing their concerns against burning of old tyres after their study found that the rubber, steel, and textile fibres in tyres could be used with concrete to build tougher, greener buildings that are also more resistant to earthquakes. Tyres comprises of about 80 per cent rubber, reinforced with 15 per cent steel and 5 per cent textile fibre.
According to the researchers, recycled rubber, when used in building construction, can flex up to 10 per cent more longitudinally, which is 50 times more compared to conventional construction practices.
The steel wires in tyres can be blended with other steel fibres to improve the flexing strength of concrete mix. This will reduce energy input requirement by 97 per cent. Since the wires in tyres are much thinner than conventional steel wires, it could blend well with concrete and control cracks at a micro level.
The textile polymer fibres, which generally provide reinforcement to tyres, can also be used to control cracking at early stages of concrete curing, when the mix is still plastic. Sheffield University team also showed that textile fibres help prevent explosive concrete spalling during fires and its applications are being developed for buildings and tunnels.
Kypros Pilakoutas, Professor, University of Sheffield, said, “Incinerating such high-quality materials as used in tyres is plainly wrong and by demonstrating that they can be reused for their original properties, we are hoping that the decision makers will take steps towards limiting incineration to materials that cannot be reused.”
The first facility to process tyre wire is established in UK by Twincon, as a part of another EU eco-innovation project. Professor Peter Waldron, MD of Twincon, said, “These high quality materials have valuable properties and deserve to be reused.”