Wheel success researcher teams with industry to turn tyres into steel

10 May 2013

When the humble car tyre has lost its tread and is no longer safe on the family car it is often thrown to landfill or stockpiled with no apparent means of re-use. In some cases we improvise; how often have you seen a child's swing or a planting barrel, or even a tyre swan, made from discarded tyres?

While such individual solutions reuse a few of the twenty million or so tyres that would have otherwise been consigned to dumps across Australia every single year, an innovative, new process developed by a University of New South Wales (UNSW) researcher has shown car tyres can be reused within industry to the benefit of the environment and a business's bottom line.

Using her expertise in the iron and steel industry Professor Veena Sahajwalla, Director of the UNSW's Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology, developed a new "green steel" making process which has, to date, diverted over 1.6 million waste tyres from landfill.

With support from grants under the ARC Discovery and Linkage Projects schemes, Professor Veena Sahajwalla discovered that in extremely reactive high-temperature environments (greater than 1500 degrees Celcius)—in which liquids/solids behave aggressively—transformations to the molecular structure of carbonaceous materials occur rapidly. This new knowledge won her the Australian Museum Eureka Prize.

Read the full story on the ARC newsroom
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