Tiling roofs with powdered tyres

Russian scientists have found a new application for old tyres. Ground into powder and mixed with common polyethylene, rubber tyres form a strong and durable composite that could be used for covering roofs.

“Initially the aim of the study was to solve the important environmental problem of tyre recycling,” says Olga Serenko from the Institute of Synthetic Polymeric Materials in Moscow. “Then we found that the obtained composite is better than some common covering materials.”

Tyres contain soot, an antioxidant that makes the composite resistant to oxidation and sunlight. Low-density polyethylene binds the ground-up rubber particles together to create an elastic material. The composite is cheap to make and has good stretching properties.

Researchers perfected the rubber-LDPE composite by adding a small portion of ethylene and vinyl acetate copolymer to improve the binding between rubber particles and the polymer. Varying the quantity of polymer creates harder composites can be used to manufacture roof slates.

The study is published in the latest issue of Polymer Science.

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie