Researchers from the University of South Australia and RMIT University have demonstrated that discarded rubber tires can be incorporated into concrete for use in the construction of residential homes.

While the performance of crumb rubber concrete (CRC) has been established in the lab, this team of researchers took the material out of the lab and tested its performance in real-world structures, creating a pair of 4 m x 8 m residential footing slabs — one slab composed of CRC, one composed of conventional concrete — and another set of slabs of similar compositions, which were placed in a high traffic area of the University of South Australia campus.

Studying the slabs of both the reinforced concrete and conventional concrete, the team determined that the reinforced CRC often outperformed conventional concrete, demonstrating, lighter weight, higher impact resistance, toughness and ductility, higher damping ratio and improved thermal and acoustic insulation.

Likewise, the researchers report that the results of pumping, screeding — or leveling — and finishing of the CRC surface using a power trowel were no different than that achieved using conventional concrete. Instead, the researchers suggest that the CRC mix demanded less physical effort entirely.

“Additionally, the ready-mix cement companies reported no concerns relating to concrete batching, delivery or mixing, and said that the wash out of the concrete truck mixer was far easier,” the researchers explained.

The research, which is detailed in the article Practical Application of Crumb Rubber Concrete in Residential Slabs, was published in the journal Structures.

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