University researchers develop a more crack-resistant concrete using recycled tires

According to a press release by the University of British Columbia, researchers have developed a concrete formulation that includes recycled tires for a more resilient and sustainable building material:

The researchers experimented with different proportions of recycled tire fibres and other materials used in concrete—cement, sand and water—before finding the ideal mix, which includes 0.35 per cent tire fibres, according to researcher Obinna Onuaguluchi, a postdoctoral fellow in civil engineering at UBC.

Recycled-rubber roads are not new; asphalt roads that incorporate rubber “crumbs” from shredded tires exist in the U.S., Germany, Spain, Brazil and China. But using the polymer fibres from tires has the unique benefit of potentially improving the resilience of concrete and extending its lifespan.

“Our lab tests showed that fibre-reinforced concrete reduces crack formation by more than 90 per cent compared to regular concrete,” said Onuaguluchi. “Concrete structures tend to develop cracks over time, but the polymer fibres are bridging the cracks as they form, helping protect the structure and making it last longer.”

Fiber admixtures are certainly not a new concept in concrete, but by using rubber from old tires, this product is diverting waste from landfills, thus helping to offset the heavy carbon footprint associated with concrete production.