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High-Pressure, High-Temperature Sintering: A Novel Approach Towards Recycling of Vulcanized Rubber Powders Derived From Scrap TiresEPA Grant Number: U915950
Title: High-Pressure, High-Temperature Sintering: A Novel Approach Towards Recycling of Vulcanized Rubber Powders Derived From Scrap Tires
Investigators: Morin, Jeremy E.
Institution: University of Massachusetts - Amherst
EPA Project Officer: Jones, Brandon
Project Period: January 1, 2001 through January 1, 2004
Project Amount: $89,750
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2001) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Engineering and Environmental Chemistry , Fellowship - Chemistry and Materials Science
Within the past few years, there has been a tremendous effort to save our environment and improve the methods by which we recycle waste materials. However, rubbers still remain a thorn in the side for recyclers, and to date, there is no effective method of reusing/recycling crosslinked rubber. Discarded tires represent one of the most serious sources of pollution in the world. Studies estimate there are roughly 2 to 3 billion scrap tires in U.S. landfills, and more are being added at a rate of more than 275 million tires per year. Our research is targeted to alleviate this problem, because we have developed a method of fusing powderized vulcanized rubber together with only heat and pressure. The objectives of this research project are to: (1) demonstrate the feasibility of recycling thermosets including scrap tires; (2) understand the mechanism of this particle adhesion; and (3) better control the reaction to improve the mechanical performance of recycled rubbers.
In this research project, it may be possible to gain additional information about the mechanism of rubber vulcanization. Additionally, an investigation into the continuous processing of rubber powder will be conducted to show the industrial application of such a process. Progress to date has shown an extremely simple technique to recycle rubber, a material believed to be impossible to recycle. Thus far, we have obtained 75 percent of the mechanical properties. Furthermore, we have demonstrated a class of materials that can accelerate the process of sintering. This research will have a dramatic effect on society and will have implications in materials used in road paving and roofing as well as cleaning burning fuel sources.