New Rubber Polymer to Develop Recyclable Construction Material
The researchers from the Flinders University have developed a remarkable new kind of rubber polymer, made from sulfur and canola oil, which can be compressed and heated with fillers to create construction materials of the future.
Revolutionary ‘green’ types of bricks and construction materials could be made from recycled PVC, waste plant fibers or sand with the help of the new rubber polymer.
New Recycling Method and Its Potential Uses
The new method could produce materials that may replace non-recyclable construction materials, bricks and even concrete.
The powdered rubber can potentially be used as tubing, rubber coatings or bumpers, or compressed, heated then mixed with other fillers to form entirely new composites, including more sustainable building blocks, concrete replacement or insulation.
The new manufacturing and recycling technique labelled ‘reactive compression molding,’ applies to rubber material that can be compressed and stretched, but one that doesn’t melt. The unique chemical structure of the sulfur backbone in the novel rubber allows for multiple pieces of the rubber to bond together.
Making Sustainable Construction Materials
The new recycling method and new composites are an important step forward in making sustainable construction materials, and the rubber material can be repeatedly ground up and recycled. The rubber particles also can be first used to purify water and then repurposed into a rubber mat or tubing. The method is also important because there are currently few methods to recycle PVC or carbon fiber.
The research looks at ways to repurpose and recycle materials, so that these materials are multi-use by design for circular economy.