Theme: Transforming Industries

Project Title

Physical properties of tyre walls in residential housing construction

Project Description

The aim of the project is to conduct research into the physical properties of end of life (EOL) tyres in the context of their use in the construction of walls for residential buildings. EOL tyres have been used successfully as wall construction materials for many decades by an American company Earthship Biotecture the pioneers of the Earthship sustainable housing concept. EOL tyres can be used to make a brick-like wall building module in conjunction with a variety of waste materials as a filling material. This is done by compacting clean fill (a waste material from building sites) or similar “waste” materials such as concrete rubble or crushed bricks into the tyres. Tyre walls have been demonstrated to have excellent structural properties; they are load bearing, and capable of acting as retaining walls, withstanding the forces of being backfilled, a technique used by architects to help provide stable indoor air temperatures and reduce the need for heating and cooling. Resistance to earthquakes and storms are also reported anecdotally and this seems plausible due to the tyres’ unique properties of both strength and flexibility due to the steel reinforced rubber construction.

There is evidence of both economic advantages and environmental sustainability; however, this construction method has not gained acceptance in Australia, possibly due to a lack of empirical evidence and data regarding the engineering characteristics of tyres and tyre walls. This project will provide a new understanding of the physical properties of tyres and tyre walls; information needed by engineers and architects to design more efficient and sustainable housing while simultaneously addressing the issue of waste tyres (and other waste materials), transforming waste recycling and housing industries.


A PhD scholarship, funded by Tyre Stewardship Australia ($27,082 p.a.), is available to support the doctoral candidate. The candidate will also benefit from a full fee waiver (for eligible Australian and International residents) for the three-year duration of the studentship.


The PhD scholarship is open to Australian Citizens, Permanent Residents of Australia and international students.

It is expected applicants will fulfil the requirements of candidature for a PhD place at the University of South Australia, which means holding a first class Honours degree (or equivalent). International applicants must also meet the University’s English language proficiency standards. The Scholarship will be awarded on the basis that the candidate be studying full-time and be resident in Adelaide, South Australia, for the duration of the PhD.

How to apply

Proposals for the studentship must include:

  • A project proposal, including rationale, proposed methodology and methods, anticipated outcomes and a timeline.
  • A full curriculum vitae.
  • Evidence of academic achievement (i.e. full academic transcripts).
  • The names and contact details of two academic referees.

Further information on the application process can be found at:

Further information

If you are interested in this opportunity please contact:

Prof Yan Zhuge
School of Natural & Built Environments
University of South Australia
Phone: +61 8 830 23093


Dr Martin Freney
School of Art Architecture & Design
University of South Australia
Phone: +61 8 8302 0271


Areas of study and research

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