Roads are Lasting Twice as Long Thanks to Recycled Tire Rubber

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Rubber from used tyres acts like sunscreen for roads and halves the rate of sun damage when mixed with bitumen, new research has found.

Engineers at RMIT University in Australia have discovered a bitumen blend that is both UV-resistant and withstands traffic loads, with the potential to save governments millions on road maintenance annually.

Unlike much outdoor infrastructure—such as playground equipment and outdoor furniture— roads are not designed with any sun protection, making them prone to cracking and potentially unsafe to drive on.

Incorporating recycled rubber not only offers sun protection but is a promising sustainable solution to the used-tyre crisis in many countries, including Australia where an export ban on used tyres has been in place since December 2020.

While research efforts have focused on improving the durability of roads in terms of traffic load, thermal ageing and weather-related events, sun damage has received little attention, until now.

Sunscreen for roads

The new study led by RMIT’s Associate Professor Filippo Giustozzi provides a sustainable solution to UV protection for roads.

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