Shan-Shan Huang, Harris Angelakopoulos, Kypros Pilakoutas, Ian Burgess


Polypropylene fibres (PPF) are used in concrete principally to reduce plastic shrinkage cracking, but also to prevent explosive spalling of concrete exposed to fire. In the EU alone, an estimated 75,000 tonnes of virgin PPF are used each year. At the same time an estimated 63,000 tonnes of polymer fibres are recovered from end-of-life tyres, which are agglomerated and too contaminated with rubber to find any alternative use; currently these are mainly disposed of by incineration. The authors have initiated a study on the feasibility of reusing tyre polymer fibres in fresh concrete to mitigate fire-induced spalling. If successful, this will permit replacement of the virgin PPF currently used with a reused product of equal or superior performance. A preliminary experimental investigation is presented in this paper. High-strength concrete cubes/slabs have been tested under thermo-mechanical loading. This study has shown promising results; the specimens with the tyre polymer fibres have shown lower vulnerability to spalling than those of plain concrete.


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