How to Use Old Tires to Pave Roads

Since the 1970s, the United States has used recycled tires in the asphalt recipe, according to Cal Recycle. Using recycled tires is cost-effective, safe and environmentally friendly. The LA Times Greenspace section says it takes 2,000 tires for every lane mile paved. Shredded tires, called crumb rubber, are packaged into one-ton sacks to be fed into a weigh hopper along with asphalt cement -- black cementitious material made up largely of hydrocarbons. Heavy equipment is needed to process the crumb rubber and mix it with hot asphalt and aggregate before paving begins.

Things You'll Need

  • Commercial shredder
  • Storage tank
  • Weigh hopper
  • Blending tank with augers
  • Pavers
  • Rollers: steel-wheeled drum with pads and watering system
  • Work gloves
  • Safety goggles

Instructions

    • 1
      Crumb rubber is widely used on playgrounds to reduce injuries to children when they fall.
      Crumb rubber is widely used on playgrounds to reduce injuries to children when they fall.

      Feed tires into a shredder that is set to grind the rubber into pieces between 3 and 5 inches each. Reduce the amount of asphalt concrete you would normally use by 18 to 22 percent by weight. Heat the asphalt to a temperature of 375 to 435 degrees F.

    • 2

      Add the crumb rubber. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees for a minimum of 45 to 60 minutes to allow the materials time to react, according to Cal Recycle.

    • 3

      Discontinue heating for four hours. Two re-heat cycles are allowed. Do not allow the asphalt to cool below 300 degrees F during transport to the paving site. Monitor the temperature with a thermometer that has at least a 6-inch probe. Tarps can be used to cover the asphalt loaded into dump-body trucks to retain heat.

    • 4

      Unload hot asphalt onto the area to be paved. Compact with a steel-wheeled vibratory roller. Breakdown rolling should begin before the mat cools to below 280 degrees F.

Tips & Warnings

  • Each state has its own specifications concerning rubberized asphalt concrete: how much crumb rubber can be used, how thick the asphalt must be laid and what size the rubber has to be shredded. Consult the transportation department in the city you live in for specifics.
  • Do not use rubber tire rollers on rubberized asphalt concrete.
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References

  • Photo Credit stack of old tires image by JoLin from Fotolia.com playground image by PeteG from Fotolia.com

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