Using more end-of-life tyres in road construction is a known way to curb a significant environmental challenge for Australia. The question is, how do we make that happen?
One possibility is to engage the use of end-of-life car tyres. Most crumb rubber repurposed into Australian road construction currently comes from end-of-life truck tyres.
Truck tyres are predominantly composed of natural rubber, whereas car tyres contain a high proportion of synthetic rubber, as well as a nylon component.
It is not well understood whether synthetic rubber will behave in bitumen in the same nature that natural rubber does.
No data from an Australian context is available to establish the compatibility and performance of synthetic rubber in bitumen.
The Australian Road Research Board recommends further research to understand this. There are also barriers for recycling car tyres to be considered, such as economic, environmental and processing challenges.
Victoria's Department of Transport (DoT, formerly VicRoads) engaged ARRB to undertake a literature review on the use of passenger vehicle tyres in bitumen. The main objectives of the literature review were to:
- understand the current specifications of crumb rubber source by other road agencies, both locally and internationally;
- understand the market availability and processing requirements of passenger vehicle tyres, and
- identify the benefits and limitations of using passenger vehicle tyre crumb rubber as a road material in asphalt and sprayed seals.
With the Victorian Government’s focus on increasing the use of recycled materials in road construction, this literature review will help inform all stakeholders on the issues associated with the use of passenger vehicle tyres in bitumen.
Read the literature review here