Chile Moves to Investigate Rubber Recycling
Experts at the Chilean Centre for Advanced Polymer Research are seeking to develop solutions based on end of life tyres (ELT), which are reinforced with state-of-the-art technology. One of the potential uses is in the construction of buildings.
Rubber has a number of advantages, which makes it very attractive for various uses.
“The main properties of rubber are concentrated in their elasticity, impact resistance, thermal stability and acoustic insulation,” explains Carolina Arango, development engineer at the Advanced Polymer Research Center, CIPA.
He states that the significant amount of ELT introduced to the market – products mainly from Asian markets, which are cheaper and have a shorter useful life – has led to a considerable increase in the amount of this residue, “generating in the medium-long term important volumes that should be available in conjunction with those already in place at solid waste disposal sites. This is much more serious considering that many waste disposal centres do not have environmental licences or are in the process of closure.
In this context, “the Advanced Polymer Research Center (CIPA) has placed special emphasis on ELT that cause negative environmental impacts. We are a regional centre that seeks to contribute to the development and competitiveness of The Biobío Region through the incorporation of technological solutions in the field of materials that benefit the productive and social sectors of the region and the country.
“The main CIPA projects focus on the manufacture of materials for the sustainable construction sector, which are a contribution for certifications and new legislation in this field, and that can also be used in constructions that seek energy efficiency “Through the development of sandwich panels for energy and acoustic insulation, composite floor panels and ELT-based coatings.”
Thus, for example, researchers from the Centre, whose founding entities were the universities of Concepción and Bío-Bío, the Regional Government of Biobío and Conicyt, work on the possibility of developing materials based on rubber.
“The main applications of recycled rubber are focused on the construction sector. Research is mainly focused on reinforcing rubber to diversify its applications and modify it so that it can be used in the construction of buildings without putting at risk human health “.
“RUBTEC (www.rubtec.cl), a company dedicated to the manufacture and marketing of rubber products, through strategic alliances with technology centers and universities, is making efforts to manufacture innovative products with applications in the construction sector, from recycled rubber and plastics, ” says Arango.