Bouncing back

Researchers at CSIRO are working with the Australian company VR TEK Operations to develop new technologies to reduce waste tyres to rubber powders.


Researchers at CSIRO are working with the Australian company VR TEK Operations to develop new technologies designed to reduce waste tyres to devulcanised and activated high-quality rubber powders that can be used to manufacture new rubber products.


CSIRO materials science and engineering scientist Barrie Finnin said that CSIRO and VR TEK recently succeeded in segmenting a tyre into specific pieces using a cutting mechanism built to VR TEK’s design.


‘This is a very positive first step in a three-stage process and CSIRO is delighted to be part of a project that is enabling an Australian company to pioneer the commercially and environmentally sustainable recycling of tyres,’ he added.


The next two stages will involve devulcanisation and activation of rubber to produce the resultant high-quality rubber powders.


VR TEK managing director, Michael Vainer, said that the rubber powders to be produced from the process could be turned into many commercially viable products.


‘Not only is there commercial potential for all these new products, recycling rubber is a cheaper and more energy efficient option than producing virgin materials,’ Vainer added.


The project between VR TEK and CSIRO receives funding support from the Advanced Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (AMCRC) and the Victorian Government, through the Victorian Centre for Advanced Materials Manufacturing (VCAMM).