Rail Research Project
A University of Technology Sydney (UTS) rail research project is using reclaimed and recycled rubber to absorb shock and increase the lifespan of granular construction material or ballast. The project led by Buddhima Indraratna director of the UTS’ Transport Research Centre uses recycled rubber in a variety of ways.
To help prevent particle movement and provide a level of shock absorption, researchers use high-power water jets, to cut grid patterns into waste conveyor belt sheets to create Energy Absorbing Rubber Seams, which are laid between the ballast layer and the underlying capping of compacted sandy gravel.
The rubber cut from the conveyor belt sheets is ground into granular crumbs and blended with other industrial by-products such as steel furnace slag and coal wash, and compacted as a capping layer. Known a Synthetic Energy Absorbing Layer, this layer prevents excessive stress propagation to the soft natural foundation (subgrade) and creates a high level of shock absorption
In the part of the process known as a Recycled-Rubber Energy Absorbing Layer, whole rubber tires with one rim removed are laid in a grid pattern, creating a subterranean rubber framework that reduces lateral displacement of the ballast and helps prevent breakage. This technique is a pending patent in collaboration with EcoFlex Australia.
© Scrap Tire News, June 2022