A team from RMIT has developed a method to make concrete with improved strength out of recycled materials, and is seeking precast concrete manufacturers to test prototypes.
The team, led by the School of Engineering’s Professor Yufei Wu, calls its process “Rubberized Concrete Processing Technology (RCP-Tech).” It uses rubber tyres and construction and demolition waste, and has a claimed strength improvement of up to 35 per cent over traditional concrete.
A statement from the university describes RCP-Tech as using a mix of course and fine aggregates, rubber tyre waste, cement and water, which is then compressed to its minimum volume using pressure in a customised mould.
“This technology can be used to significantly improve the strength, hardness and durability of any type of concrete material, such as rubber concrete, recycled aggregate concrete, and even ordinary concrete,” said Wu
“By enhancing the properties of the recycled waste without the use of any additional materials, we have developed a feasible and practical solution that addresses the performance issues affiliated with waste recycling in concrete.
PhD researcher and co-inventor Syed Kazmi said it could be easily applied in the precast concrete industry and required little change to current production methods.
The work has been published in the Resources, Conservation and Recycling journal.
It’s estimated that about a third of construction waste currently ends up in landfill, with the country’s current landfill space predicted to be occupied by 2025.
Exports of waste tyres are scheduled to end in December. According to Tyre Stewardship Australia, “the equivalent to 27 million passenger tyres end up in landfill, stockpiles or are exported overseas” a year.
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