Recycled Tire Logs Say to Pressure Treated Lumber, "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better..."
Photo via: www.EricCastro.biz
"I Can Do Anything Better than You!"
RTP Re-Tread Products is in the testing phase of a series of recycled rubber tire products designed to one day take the place of some of the applications where pressure treated lumber has traditionally been used. The benefit of such a trade-off would be less chemicals to leach into the ground (from the treated lumber), improved flexibility, and increased overall durability.
The tire logs are believed to be a very appropriate substitute for such applications as heavy equipment platforms, logging roadways, boat ramps, hurricane-prone building construction, highway separation, and flood-control barriers.
Applications for the Tire Log
Heavy-equipment, logging roads, and boat ramps need to be able to handle the constant vibration of heavy equipment vehicles traveling over top of them. The recycled tire logs appear to be a perfect application. For boat ramps, the logs would be durable, resistant to decay, and would not leach harmful toxins into the ground or water.
Using the logs for construction in hurricane-prone areas is another interesting proposal the tire log are being considered for. This would take advantage of the logs extreme flexibility, as compared to pressure treated lumber. This flexibility is also believed to be perfect for such applications as flood and road barrier.
Flood barriers are known to break under extreme pressure or shock, such as the shock waves produced by a helicopter, but if they were constructed out of something flexible, like rubber, the chance of breakage would be greatly reduced. The same goes for the barriers used on highways and byways.
For highway usage the rubber would absorb some of the shock from the impact of a vehicle, but even more importantly, it would absorb the impact without breaking. This could prove to be safer than the traditional barriers separating drivers from oncoming traffic or water hazards.
In addition to the protection from impact, rubber road barriers could also be incorporated into the construction of highway walls and sound barriers. This would offer improved sound control over some of the more tradition means of construction (wood, concrete, etc.).
Yeah, Sounds Great, But How is it Made?You would think these logs would be made from quite an extensive recycling process, but in truth it is all quite simple. The process begins by cutting off the sidewalls and stacking the tread strips and walls in separate piles. These sidewalls are then recycled or used for a different project, while the strips are transported to the 'log' making machine.
After the tread is removed, they are each wound tightly into rolls by a machine and riveted or bolted together. Riveting is the preferred method as it secures the logs better, while also providing a passageway through the log for improved security, such as when used as a structural beam for a hurricane-proof construction project.
The tire log can then be cut to any desired length with a conventional band saw and transported for use in any of the above applications.
Okay, I'll Buy into Some of That, But Using Rubber for Structural Construction, No Way!Actually, the rubber tires are more structurally sound than you might think. But for most construction applications they are experimenting with a number of ways to add rigidity to the logs, such as using fiberglass reinforcement.
So far the engineering reports of the tire logs appear to show that these logs are everything that RTP hopes they can be. There is still plenty of red tape to cut through before these logs can be readily used, but it is a very intuitive idea, and one of the best applications for used tires this journalist has ever seen!
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