Reinforced Crumbed Rubber Concrete for Residential Construction

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ARC Linkage project

Reinforced Crumbed Rubber Concrete for Residentail Construction is a collaborative project between the University of South Australia, RMIT University, and industry partners Tyre Stewardship Australia, FMG Engineering, TyreCycle, ResourceCo and Ancon Beton.

In Australia in 2013–14, some 51 million equivalent passenger units (EPUs) of end-of-life tyres were produced, but only 5% were recycled domestically, 32% were exported, 16% were disposed of in licensed landfills, and the fate of the remaining 47% is either unknown or unverified disposal in landfill on mining sites. The tyre industry is keen to develop a market for recycled tyre products. At the same time, supplies of natural sands that have the necessary consistency and chemical properties for use as fine aggregate in concrete (usually beach and river sands) are becoming depleted worldwide, including in Australia. This project will determine the optimal use of crumb rubber produced from end-of-life tyres as a partial replacement for natural sand aggregate in concrete, thus generating a new product known as crumb rubber concrete (CRC). The project focuses on the use of CRC in residential construction applications, since residential footings and slabs generally do not require high-strength concrete, and account for approximately 40% of all premix concrete consumption in Australia. The application of reinforced CRC in residential construction has great potential to reduce the environmental impacts of both waste tyres and exploitation of natural material resources.

The aim of the project is to show that reinforced CRC is an economically viable and sustainable alternative to conventional reinforced concrete for residential structural engineering applications. The goal is to provide the tyre industry with a viable market for end-of-life tyres, and the premix concrete industry with a green product for the residential construction market. Specifically, the project will:

1. Develop cost-efficient CRC mixes that provide consistent material mechanical properties.

2. Characterize the raw material properties of crumb rubber and its interaction with the concrete matrix to inform the optimal enhancement of the concrete product properties.

3. Determine the composite behavior of CRC reinforced with steel in terms of constructability, bond strength, durability, and flexural strength to enable its use in reinforced concrete for residential construction.

4. Demonstrate that reinforced CRC is a commercially viable and practical product for the residential construction market, in terms of composition, material treatment, and the economics of production.

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Project Funding

Australian Research Council Linkage Projects scheme: $350,000 during 2016 to 2019

Industry partners cash contribution: $233,000 over 2016 to 2019

Research Leaders

Prof. Julie Mills (UniSA)

Associate Professor Rebecca Gravina (RMIT)

Prof. Yan Zhuge (UniSA)

Dr. Xing Ma (UniSA)

Prof Bill Skinner (UniSA)


Research Team

Dr. Osama Youssf (UniSA)

Dr. Rajeev Roychand (RMIT)

Mr. Tom Benn (UniSA)

Mr. Mark Ellis (UniSA)

Miss. Ou Yi (UniSA)

Industry partners 

Mr. Liam O’Keefe (Tyre Stewardship Australia)

Mr. Peter Bayetto (FMG Engineering)

Mr. John Goldfinch (FMG Engineering)

Mr. David Cockburn (Ancon Beton)

Mr. Jim Fairweather (TyreCycle)

Mr. Eddy Crosato (ResourceCo) 


Please contact Dr Osama Youssf for further information. 

Click here to read Crumbed Rubber Concrete: A Promising Material for Sustainable Construction

Areas of study and research

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