Physics Colloquium: Composite Materials based on Recycled Rubber for the Treatment of Water

Event Details

  • Speaker(s): Christopher Murray
  • Date:
  • Time: 4:00 PM
  • Location: MacN 101


Used tires are one of the most persistent and ubiquitous sources of pollution in North America. The usable lifespan of a tire is very short compared to the time it takes to degrade, and recycling is extremely difficult due to the chemical crosslink-ing of the rubber and the composite nature of the tire as a whole. Tire waste is a source of water pollution, and is known to contribute heavy metals to surface wa-ter. We have prepared a variety of composite materials consisting of crumb rubber embedded in a matrix of the biopolymer chitosan, which is a waste product of the seafood industry. Preliminary examination of these materials demonstrate that through simple, low-energy manufacturing techniques materials appropriate for the demanding task of treating runoff contaminated by tire waste may be pre-pared from the tire waste itself.