Lluis Gil, from the Laboratory for Technological Innovation of Structures and Materials (LITEM), and Xavier Cañavate, from the POLQUITEX research group, both from the UPC on the Terrassa campus, have developed this project that has also had the collaboration of Teresa Vidal, from the Celbiotech paper engineering research group at the same university.
Tires are basically made with three types of materials: latex or rubber, steel fibers and a textile armor; the first two are commonly reused but textiles are not, and to this day it often ends up in landfills or incinerators.
The research has allowed, from the combination of textile fibers with recycled paper pulp and adhesive white glue, to obtain a new "very effective" material for the construction sector as well as for railway projects due to its quality as an acoustic insulator and thermal.
The UPC statement indicates that conventional insulating materials have an approximate cost of 6.2 euros per square meter with rock wool and 3.8 euros with glass wool, while that of the new material is lower, in addition to having an insulating capacity "similar or superior" to those previously mentioned.
Cheap and sustainable
The final recycled product, according to Gil, is "technically equivalent to those used up to now to insulate buildings thermally and acoustically, made up of rock wool and glass, but it is cheaper" and can be supplied, once produced, in sack or plate shape, according to the needs of the company that is going to use it.
Its main advantage, Cañavate explains, is that it opens the way to the total reuse of tires by facilitating the reuse of “millions of tons of fibers” that ended up being discarded, “with the consequent saving of energy and the emission of CO2 into the atmosphere. , as well as the revaluation of recycled paper pulp, which is very difficult to reuse ”.
The project, which has received funding from the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness through the INNPACTO program, has also generated eight final degree projects and a master's thesis.