From Lab to Slab

Researchers demonstrate crumb rubber concrete as safe alternative for residential construction

New research from the University of South Australia shows that tire-derived crumb rubber can effectively be incorporated into concrete slabs and products used in residential construction providing an economically viable and sustainable alternative to conventional concrete.

Working with RMIT University, researchers demonstrated that crumb rubber concrete is a safe, green alternative for residential construction in Australia.

Lead researcher, UniSA’s Professor Julie Mills, said the research is the first to practically demonstrate and construct the new crumb rubber concrete mix in the field, literally taking the work from lab to slab.

lab-to-slabAccording to co-researcher Dr Osama Youssf, in Australia two thirds of tires end up in landfill. “Such continuous waste production and disposal is entirely unsustainable, which is why we have been investigating alternative recycling options.” Youssf said. This research investigated the design and processing of various crumb rubber concrete mixes for use in residential constructions, assessing its constructability, bond strength, durability, and flexural strength.

“We found that reinforced crumb rubber concrete (with up to 20 per cent sand replacement by volume) is superior to conventional concrete in some ways, with higher impact resistance, toughness and ductility, a higher damping ratio, better thermal and acoustic insulation, and a lighter weight,” Youssf said.

With respect to pumping, screeding, or finishing the concrete surface using a power trowel, contractors also reported no difference between using the crumb rubber concrete and conventional concrete, saying that the crumb rubber mix actually required less physical effort across all aspects.

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.

Another member of the research team, UniSA’s Professor Yan Zhuge  corroborated just how suitable crumb rubber concrete is for residential constructions and called on Australia’s concrete industry to consider crumb rubber concrete as a sustainable alternative to conventional concrete in reinforced residential constructions.

© Scrap Tire News, May 2022