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Recycled Tyre Rubber To Be Transformed Into Sustainable Concrete

Old, used tyres are leading a new innovative construction material that will further add to how the construction sector is tackling environmental challenges.

Writing in UK Construction Media Mark Sugden, partner and patent attorney in the Advanced Engineering group at European intellectual property firm, Withers & Rogers said: “Conventional concrete traditionally used in construction is a robust material, which is reliant on aggregates like sand and crushed stone.

“However, the mining and transportation of these aggregates contribute significantly to environmental issues, due to energy-intensive operations and resource depletion.

“To overcome these challenges, a solution that incorporates recycled elements from discarded vehicle tyres has been introduced.

“However, the recycling process of vehicle tyres generates a fibrous by-product – about three billion kilogrammes annually – which ends up going to landfill.

“While some tyre recycling is carried out for applications such as asphalt or playground surfaces, a considerable amount of waste material can’t be used in this way.”

He continued: “The concept of integrating rubber from vehicle tyres into concrete, termed ‘rubbercrete’, has been explored previously. Although, the complexity of vehicle tyres, which consist of diverse materials such as natural and synthetic rubber, fibre, and metal, poses challenges in the recycling process.

The current method of recycling involves shredding the tyres, followed by separating the rubber from metal and fibre using magnets and screens. However, some rubber is wasted during the separation process, necessitating a multi-stage separation technique to minimise losses

“Utilities & Civils Solutions has recently been granted a UK Patent GB2600448B for a concrete material that uses recycled material from vehicle tyres as a partial replacement for traditional stone aggregates.

“A relatively simple production method is required and the solution provides a resilient and effective concrete product.

“This novel concrete material comprises two aggregate materials: the traditional mineral elements and the elements derived from the rubber polymer found in spent tyres.

“The tyre-derived elements which are obtained from shredded tyres, match the diameter of the mineral elements and contain metal sub-elements from the tyre structure.”

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