A team of researchers at the University of Sheffield has found a new way of protecting concrete from fire damage, using fibres extracted from the textile reinforcement you find in tyres to guarantee their performance.
Adding these to the concrete mix succeeded in reducing concrete’s tendency to spall, which is when surface layers of the material break off, under the intense heat from a fire.
Although using manmade polypropylene fibres to protect concrete structures if a fire does break out is a tried and tested technique, this is the first study of its kind to show that such fibres do not have to come from raw materials and can instead be reclaimed from old tyres.
By protecting concrete from fire spalling, steel reinforcements found in the material are also protected – which means that structures are less likely to collapse when exposed to extreme heat.
Lead author of the study Dr Shan-Shan Huang commented, saying: “Using waste materials in this way is less expensive, and better for the planet … Because the fibres are so small, they don’t affect the strength or the stiffness of the concrete. Their only job is to melt when heat becomes intense. Concrete is a brittle material, so will break out relatively easily without having these fibres help reducing the pressure within the concrete.”
We also recently blogged about a study done by the University of Dundee, which found that toner powder from old printer cartridges can be used to replicate colours within cement pastes and concrete!
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