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Innovative manufacturing process for added-value car tyre re-use into safer surfaces

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Making old tyres into new surfaces

After rigorous testing, a much more cost efficient and safer way to transform used vehicle tyres into rubber surfaces has been produced.

Industrial Technologies

Old tyres are being recycled to produce impact-absorbing carpeting, but the high costs and hazardous chemicals involved have implied a need for a better recycling solution. The EU-funded project 'Innovative manufacturing process for added-value car tyre re-use into safer surfaces' (Impact-USS) addressed the issue. The project worked on developing an easier and safer pre-mixed solution that could help transform tyres into rubber-like pedestrian surfacing typically used in gyms and other sports or exercise venues. It aimed for a protective surface that can be easily produced and distributed on the market, in addition to being useful for do-it-yourself (DIY) applications. With affordability and quality in mind, the project team developed a surface that has a very high friction value (i.e. very safe). It aimed for a final product cost of EUR 20 per square metre for a 25-mm–thick surface, costing less than half of the existing products. Intense research in polyurethane chemistry was necessary to develop a product that minimised hazards and to produce the desired properties. The project partners investigated different options and materials such as water-borne polyurethane dispersions (PUDs). Towards the end of the project the partners successfully tested a prototype that was easy to prepare and required only one night to set, even for a section that was 100 mm thick. The resulting product was highly slip resistant and wear resistant, falling within the cost range projected. Impact-USS thus admirably succeeded in developing a system for producing a pre-mixed, one-part safety surfacing material in a format suitable for general contractors as well as the DIY market.

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