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Concrete proof of role for ELT rubber in buildings

UniSA team finds that tire recyclate offers safe, green alternative to conventional building materials

Adelaide, Australia – Researchers claim to have demonstrated the effectiveness of incorporating rubber recyclate from end-of-life tires (ELTs) into concrete used for residential constructions.

Trials carried out at the University of South Australia (UniSA) are said to have shown that ELT rubber is an economically viable and safe alternative for residential construction .

According to the Australian university, the research is the first to practically demonstrate and construct the new crumb rubber concrete mix in the field.

The team investigated the use of various crumb rubber/concrete mixes in residential constructions, assessing its constructability, bond strength, durability, and flexural strength.

“We found that reinforced crumb rubber concrete, with up to 20% sand replacement by volume, is superior to conventional concrete in some ways,” reported co-researcher Dr Osama Youssf.

Property enhancements, he said, included higher impact resistance, toughness and ductility, a higher damping ratio, better thermal and acoustic insulation, and a lighter weight.

“With respect to pumping, screeding, or finishing the concrete surface using a power trowel, contractors also found no difference between using the crumb rubber concrete and conventional concrete,” said Youssf.

“Additionally, the ready-mix cement companies reported no concerns relating to concrete batching, delivery or mixing, and said that the wash out of the concrete truck mixer was far easier,” he added.

The UniSA team believe their research could open the door to an important new market for recyclate from the 1.5 billion vehicle tires which are discarded each year.

“By recycling ELTs in concrete, valuable natural resources can be conserved, and the current tire landfill problem can be partially resolved,” it stated.