Engineers at RMIT University in Australia developed a new type of concrete from waste tires. Researchers across the world have been working to replace the materials used to make concrete but most have been unsuccessful. Now, the engineers at RMIT confirmed that all the rocky materials used in making concrete could be replaced with waste tires. 

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Today, almost one billion tires are disposed of in landfills annually across the world. When these tires are disposed into landfills, they leach harmful toxins into the available water sources. Alternatively, the tires are burned, compounding the already dire carbon emissions problems in the world.

Related: Undergraduate students develop glow-in-the-dark concrete

“Utilizing waste to make concrete can solve environmental issues and play a significant role in the circular economy,” said Mohammad Momeen Ul Islam, lead author of the paper published in the journal “Resources, Conservation and Recycling.”

Two years ago, the RMIT team tried blending crushed scraped rubber with concrete to make layers of roads. The engineers have already tried some real-world tests and found that rubber-based concrete works even much better than traditional concrete.

Previous attempts to replace all ingredients in concrete had proven futile with the resulting products proving to be weaker. The researchers realized that the weaknesses were due to the many pores in the rubber. To deal with the situation once and for all, the researchers decided to get rid of the pores. They put the wet mix in molds and pressed them to get rid of all pores. As a result, they found that the product was twice as strong as the products developed before.

“Our newly developed concrete is a structural lightweight concrete,” said Ul Islam. “Being lightweight, it will reduce the transportation cost, and being a precast concrete member, it will reduce the construction time and save the labor cost. Therefore, it will provide economic benefits.”

While the final concrete developed by the engineers is quite strong, they are still looking to make it stronger. They say that they are looking for partners to improve the product.

Via Anthropocene

Lead image via Pexels