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Recycled tires creating stronger concrete at UBC

Last Updated Jun 15, 2017 at 9:50 am PDT

Obinna Onuaguluchi, UBC civil engineering postdoctoral researcher. (Clare Kiernan / UBC)
Summary

Shredded tire pieces are already used in asphalt in some countries but UBC is trying out polymer fibres in concrete

The researchers believe the ideal cement mix contains just over 0.35 per cent tire fibres

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – University of British Columbia engineers are developing a more resilient type of concrete using recycled tires.

Shredded tire pieces are already used in asphalt some places around the world, but UBC is trying out polymer fibres to potentially improve how hearty concrete is.

UBC civil engineering professor Nemkumar Banthia, who supervised the work, says in a UBC YouTube video that the world produces at least three billion tires every year, so this could also significantly reduce the global carbon footprint.

“And each tire, when it’s recycled, in the end produces one kilogram of fibre… So what we have developed is a process by which this fibre can go into concrete.”

“It does several things. Not only are you using up the fibre which goes into this very large concrete industry with six billion metre cubes of concrete needed every year, but it improves the properties of concrete.”

The researchers believe the ideal cement mix contains just over 0.35 per cent tire fibres, as well as cement, sand, and water.

The researchers have found cracks are reduced by more than 90 per cent with the tire mix compared to regular concrete.