More durable roadways at no extra cost? Michigan thinks so

August 16, 2022

If it can be proven that adding rubber to concrete creates a more durable concrete with the same costs, it could become a normal additive to any concrete application

You might not immediately see a relationship between concrete and scrap rubber tires, but a pilot recycling project in Michigan aims to mix the two and make it into pavement.

The City of Muskegon is working with Michigan Technological University on making use of a mix of rubber and concrete developed from more than 10,000 scrap tires to repave a part of Sherman Boulevard, the Construction Specifier reported.

According to Michigan Live, Muskegon Assistant City Engineer Joel Brookens said while tires have been ground up previously for use in asphalt paving, this will be the first time a city in Michigan will utilize a mix of ground up scrap tires and concrete to pave one of the five lanes of Sherman Boulevard.

After paving the lane with the new material, which will replace nearly 15% of the fine aggregate with the ground tire rubber, the university will perform testing to compare it to other existing lanes. The tests on the 10-inch thick concrete will include noise tests, and check for wear, joint performance, cracking and freeze-thaw durability.

If the results prove to be successful, the almost 10 million tires that go to waste annually in the city will serve a novel application.

“Even as other markets for scrap tires exist and continue to grow, tire derived fuel (TDF) and rubber-modified asphalt for example, the rubber-modified concrete market has the potential to be larger and have a much more profound impact on the recycling of rubber tires,” the city’s grant application stated.

“Concrete is one of the most widely used building materials and is one of the most recyclable materials used in construction. If it can be proven that adding rubber to concrete creates a more durable concrete with (the) same costs, it could become a normal additive to any concrete application.”

Read the full report here

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