Environment

Scientists get more mileage out of discarded tires

Scientists get more mileage ou...
Researchers with a sheet of the tire fiber material
Researchers with a sheet of the tire fiber material
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Researchers with a sheet of the tire fiber material
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Researchers with a sheet of the tire fiber material

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.

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."

Source: UPC

9 comments
navmed
I wish this concept of disposable tires would go away. We should have a way of resurfacing tires - add layers on them add they wear out.
over_there
they have that its called a retreaded tyre there just not normally considered as good as new ones. I really doubt its more environmentally friendly to rip a tyre apart for a small amount of fabric that just make new fabric , this is one of those things people come up with when governments are handing out money so every one can pat them selves on the back for pretending to make a difference
Helios
To utilize a waste stream for other purposes may at first glance seem like a reasonable project, but on closer inspection, why not eliminate the waste entirely, ie. abandon the ubiquitous personal auto and its infrastructure for walkable/bikeable cities and mass transportation. We are a society of gluttonous appetites, literally and figuratively. We need to work toward conservation of resources and live a more frugal life.
Edward Vix
OK Helios, you first. Give up the computer or telephone you used to read this article and post your comment!
Helios
Edward Vix, I am hardly a Luddite, as I am guessing you think I am. And how that might relate to this topic I have no idea. It simply makes no sense to identify a problem (waste tires) and not address the systems that create it. An effort at root cause analysis. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
The walkable and bikeable neighborhoods that include major employers are out of reach for most of the employees. For this reason, low to middle class people drive long distances to work.
MQ
really it is time to stop all landfilling activities, and old landfills need to be mined for the valuable minerals and fuel sources therein.
The mineral concentrations in a lot of (especially old) landfills is higher than in many viable mine sites, and biodegradibles sealed inside an effective landfill becomes a non decomposing time capsule, merely of interest to future archaeoloists.
on Another notemost of the stuff we stick in the ground came out of the ground in the first place, so we can just chip them back and stick them in the hole they came out of... There's a use for all those shipping containers backhauling empty.
Nairda
The most practical recycling program is one that requires the least processing of materials. Eg - If they find a way of mostly using the tread without side walls for a useful application, such as insulation, energy absorber, roofing underlay, etc. All that would be required is the one off cut into long rectangles..
To make into fibers requires shredding, that is energy intensive.
habakak
Helios - a bicycle is a very impractical form of transportation. You cannot ride it safely in the snow and it's also much more hazardous and inconvenient in the rain. Not to mention riding hills and on really hot or really cold days. And how do you go shopping with it? Most people can't even ride bikes. Granted, that is easy to fix. But most people are out of shape too.
Cars are very practical forms of transportation. Their main shortcomings will be addressed in the next decade. Efficiency and environmental improvements through electrification (and this will be improved even more with the transition to renewable energy production over the next 2 or 3 decades). Higher utilization through time-sharing enabled by autonomy thereby reducing cost, accidents and congestion.
Cars are the best transportation solution developed by mankind. Cars are safe, reliable, able to carry a load (imagine doing your monthly grocery shopping on a snowy day on a bicycle living in a hilly area - now imagine being a frail 80 year old too) and transport us in comfort keeping us warm/cool and dry. And all these things will improve even further. And where it beats all others (public transportation, boats and planes) is that it's the ONLY point to point delivery vehicle. There simply is NOTHING as good on the transportation scene as a car. With electrification and autonomy the only shortcomings of the automobile will be addressed. Only a radical new technology (efficient and affordable autonomous flying vehicles) can improve on this. Bicycles are impractical and for fun. I know. I own 3 bikes and use them exclusively for fun and fitness. I ride 5 days a week for about 8 hours in total. It is a LOT of fun.