Cement-Polymer Composites From Recycled Polymers for Construction ApplicationsEPA Contract Number: EPD05051
Title: Cement-Polymer Composites From Recycled Polymers for Construction Applications
Investigators: Loutfy, Raouf O.
Small Business: Materials and Electrochemical Research (MER) Corporation
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Project Period: April 1, 2005 through June 30, 2006
Project Amount: $225,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase II (2005) Recipients Lists
Research Category: SBIR - Waste , Hazardous Waste/Remediation , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)
Conventional cement-based construction materials such as stucco and concrete are prone to cracking, provide poor thermal insulation, and are very permeable to water. The repair of deteriorated cement-based structures is a major problem. In the United States alone, repair costs are estimated to be more than $100 billion. Commercial stuccos are susceptible to cracking under the influence of repeated temperature fluctuations, particularly in warm regions. Modified elastomers from recycled automobile tires represent an efficient and low-cost material for improving the desirable properties of commercial stucco. Every 4 years, landfills accumulate an average of 500 million tires from passenger vehicles. These unsafe mountains of tires cause an aesthetic problem and are catastrophic to the environment. The tires are a fire hazard and also are a breeding site for disease-spreading mosquitoes and rodents. MER Corporation proposes an innovative two-in-one approach to address both of these problems. During Phase I, MER Corporation developed modified elastomers from waste automobile tires (i.e., crumb rubber) by surface modifying crumb rubber in a very simple and inexpensive proprietary process. The treated and functionalized crumb rubber was incorporated in commercially available stucco (20:80 ratio by volume), and samples were molded and tested in accordance with the American Society for Testing and Materials standards. Test results showed remarkable improvement in desirable properties of commercially available stucco by incorporating MER Corporation’s treated crumb rubber in stucco. During Phase II, MER Corporation will further optimize the surface treatment of crumb rubber and mix-blend system, scale up the process, extend the technology to other building materials, demonstrate the feasibility in real-world applications, and perform a detailed economic analysis. The proposed technology will find wide applications in the construction industry.