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ASU researcher puts recalled Firestone tires to good use

he cement weight. Since that time, dozens of residential and commercial rubberized concrete sites have been poured, monitored and deemed successful, including some extreme cold weather applications. A field demonstration project using the recalled Firestone tires was poured last fall as part of a frontage road along Interstate 17, near Cordes Junction, Arizona. Crumb rubber concrete is also being tested for noise control along a busy freeway in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Prior to Zhu's research, similar lab studies were not encouraging for the waste product. Earlier research showed that adding crumb rubber to concrete would lower the compressive strength, the major criterion used in designing PCC.

However, Zhu's study showed adding the crumb rubber into PCC actually produced several benefits that would compensate for the loss in compressive strength, particularly for projects that are not considered loadbearing. These benefits include reductions in thermal expansion, also known in Arizona as Summer Fatigue, along with reductions in drying shrinkage and brittleness. The recycled rubber also shows promise in ending the crumbling associated with freeze and thaw damage in colder climates.

Zhu says these benefits alone significantly improve the overall durability and serviceability of PCC. More recently, the researcher made new advances by boosting the compressive strength levels of crumb rubber PCC to specifications by simply adding a small amount of gypsum to the mix.

According to the Arizona Cement Association, within the Phoenix metro area some 12,000 cubic-yards of PCC are produced each day. By conservative estimates, if just 20 pounds of crumb rubber per cubic yard of fresh PCC were added, all 5 million scrap tires produced annually in Arizona could be recycled into stronger and more pliable PCC for use in sidewalks, parking lots and concrete floors. Crumb rubber concrete appears to avoid cracking and flaking common to traditional conc
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Contact: Lynette Summerill
lsummer@asu.edu
480-965-4823
Arizona State University
25-Jul-2002


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