When we hear about old tires being recycled, it's usually their latex content and/or their steel fibers that are actually being harvested. They also contain fabric, which traditionally hasn't been nearly as useful. That may now be changing, however, as Spanish scientists have created a building material using tire fabric fibers.
Working with the companies COMSA and GMN, researchers from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya mixed the fibers with recycled paper pulp and white glue.
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The finished product can be manufactured in forms such as panels, depending on the application. It is said to be particularly well-suited to building construction and railway projects, as it has thermal and acoustic insulating qualities similar to those of rock wool or glass wool, but it's less expensive.
"Our material can reuse millions of tons of fibers that were previously sent to landfills at the end of the tires' life, thus saving energy and CO2 emissions," says team member Xavier Cañavate. "It also incorporates recycled paper pulp, which is very difficult to reuse."