Using recycled tire “crumbs” in asphalt for roads isn’t new. But UBC engineers have developed a more resilient type of concrete. The researchers experimented with different proportions of recycled tire fibers and other materials used in concrete. This mixture uses recycled tires that could be used for concrete structures. Structures such as buildings, roads, dams, and bridges while reducing landfill waste.
“Concrete structures tend to develop cracks over time, but the polymer fibers are bridging the cracks as they form, helping protect the structure and making it last longer.”
The ideal mix of materials (cement, sand, and water) includes 0.35 percent tire fibers. This according to researcher Obinna Onuaguluchi, a postdoctoral fellow in civil engineering at UBC. Fibre-reinforced concrete reduces crack formation by more than 90 percent compared to regular concrete. The environmental impact of this is very important. Up to three billion tires are produced around the world every year. It generates close to three billion kilograms of fiber when recycled. Giving new life to old tires reduces the amount of landfill while shrinking the carbon footprint of the construction industry.
Obinna Onuaguluchi, UBC civil engineering postdoctoral researcher. Credit: Clare Kiernan / UBC
Impact of Recycled Tire
According to Landscape Architecture Magazine, “With 4.2 billion metric tons of the binder used each year worldwide, cement production is responsible for nearly 8 percent of total global carbon emissions. The high lime content of ordinary portland cement contributes about two-thirds of cement’s CO2 impact through the process of limestone calcination. The other one-third of CO2 released is from the combustion of fossil fuels.”
Testing of this new concrete mix is beginning in May on one of UBC building’s very own concrete steps. They will be tracking its performance by embedding sensors to the concrete.
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