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By shredding, the volume of scrap tires can be reduced to about ¼, thus reducing space requirement and shipping costs. Tire shredding can be considered a mature technology now in North America.
Products: Rubber Crumb (sellable product – serves as raw material to many many industries)
Finer synthetic and natural rubber (obviously after treatments) which can be used in Tiles and tile adhesives, mixing with asphalt, sports surfaces, carpet underlay, noise and vibration insulation, playgrounds and matting. Rubber crumb is also used in new tyres, devulcanisation for low-tech pressed or extruded rubber products, commercial flooring, traffic control products and plenty more.
Ambient Scrap Tire processing
The process is called ambient, because all size reduction steps take place at or near ambient temperatures, i.e. no cooling is applied to make the rubber brittle.
The tires are first processed into chips of 2” (50 mm) in size in a preliminary shredder (A). The tire chips then enter a granulator (B). In this processing step the chips are reduced to a size of smaller than 3/8” (10 mm), while liberating most of the steel and fiber from the rubber granules. After exiting the granulator, steel is removed magnetically and the fiber fraction is removed by a combination of shaking screens and wind sifters (C).
While there is some demand for 3/8” rubber granules, most applications call for finer mesh material, mostly in the range of 10 to 30 mesh. For this reason, most ambient grinding plants have a number of consecutive grinding steps (D). The machines most commonly used for fine grinding in ambient plants are:
• Secondary granulators
• High speed rotary mills
• Extruders or screw presses
• Cracker mills
Ambient grinding can be operated safely and economically if the bulk of the rubber output needs to be relatively coarse material, i.e., down to approximately 20 mesh material.
Products: Rubber Crumb of different sizes. It’s a further refined process and this crumb is more valuable and useful.
whole tires or tire chips are cooled down to a temperature of below –80 C (-112 F). Below this “glass transition temperature”, rubber becomes nearly as brittle and glass and size reduction can be accomplished by crushing and breaking.
This type of size reduction requires less energy and fewer pieces of machinery when compared to ambient size reduction.
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"5 Types Of Tire Recycling." 123HelpMe.com. 19 Aug 2019
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Products: Rubber crumb. Its only economical if clean, fine mesh rubber powder is required.
The pyrolysis process is the thermal degradation of waste in the absence of oxygen at elevated temperatures and pressures. The process is carried out at temperatures typically upwards of 430°C. In practice, it is not possible to achieve a completely oxygen-free enviroment and so a small amount of oxidation occurs. The products of pyrolysis (from organic waste) are gases, small quantities of liquid, and a solid residue containing carbon and ash. The gases produced in the process can then be used to provide the heating energy for continuing the process.
The tyre pyrolysis process essentially returns the high heating value of the rubber and oils that were initially used in the manufacture of the tyres. By carefully controlling the temperature, pressure and oxygen level more pyrolysis oil and charcoal is encouraged. This pyrolysis oil can then be used as a replacement diesel fuel.
Since the tyres used in the pyrolysis process were originally produced from rubbers and oils extracted from fossil oil then this fuel can not be described as renewable nor can it provide saving on carbon emissions or other green house gases. It does however provide an alternative to landfilling as well as providing other usefull products such as raw tyre pyrolysis carbon, commonly known as ‘carbon black’ which can be combusted or used as a filler.
- Pyrolysis olf – Can be used a bio diseal
- Carbon Black – Can be used in industries or to generate electricity.
- Can be used as an alternative to Land Filling (which is banned in UK now)
How does it work?
The Molectra process integrates mechanical, chemical and microwave treatments to cleanly and efficiently break the tyre down into its base materials – oil, carbon, rubber granules, steel and plastic fibres, which can then be made into valuable products and resources.
1. The first step of the process mechanically removes the two steel beadwires intact from the rim of the tyre. This high quality wire can be cut into small pellets suitable for sandblasting shots. The tyres are sliced into 4-12 segments depending on tyre diameter, eliminating the need for energy-intensive shredding equipment.
2. Next the tyre segments are chemically treated for 4 hours in a blend of softening agents including the oil that is extracted from the tyres in the last stage of the process. This dramatically softens the rubber component of the tyre segments. Another important benefit of this chemical treatment is that it cleans the rubber particles by removing dirt and other contaminants prior to removing the oil. This step actually facilitates the separation of the components unlike other methods, which magnetise the rubber making it difficult to separate it from the metal and fibres which hold it together.
3. The reinforcing steel wires and fibre cords embedded in the tyre segments are then mechanically separated from the rubber and from each other, using a series of purpose-designed rollers. Since the steel and fibre aren't actually cut like in traditional shredding techniques, they remain in long pieces and are easily separated.
4. The softened rubber, which has been partially granulated in the separation process, is then further granulated into various mesh sizes ranging from the size of a peppercorn down to a very fine powder.
5. At this point, a choice is made to either heat the softened rubber on low heat to extract the softening chemicals, and produce a 100% pure rubber, or to heat the softened rubber at high heat to produce carbon and oil. The heating occurs in the ‘MolectraVac’, an industrial vacuum microwave.
On low heat, this process can recover 7.6kg of pure crumb rubber from a tyre weighing 10-kilograms that can be used to manufacture a range of rubber products (seee futher details).
Alternatively, the crumb rubber is microwaved for 20mins to 1300 degrees Celsius to produce 3.9 litres of oil, and 3.8kg of carbon per tyre.
This carbon can be either activated carbon, commonly used for purifying industrial water, or carbon black, which has a huge number of industrial applications, including being used to generate electricity.
The Molectra process can recycle any size and type of rubber tyre.
Relevancy: Annually there are an estimated 1.2 billion old tyres that are discarded around the world, continually adding to the growing stockpiles. Australia contributes around 18 million to this number each year. The United States generates by far the most – a staggering 270 million every year. Some experts estimate that there are close to 3 billion waste tyres stockpiled throughout the United States alone.
Molectra uses tyres to produce the following rubber based products for residential and commercial applications:
Rubber Matting, Silicone Tiles, Rebonded Pavers, Rebonded Block, Rebonded Pipe, Soil Aerator, and Hyrdo-Chips.
Other products and uses derived from Molectra's Tyre Recycling:
Crumb Rubber, Steel, Fibre, Raw Oil, Carbon, Heavy Hydrocarbons, Light Hydrocarbons, Limonene, Carbon Black, Activated Carbon, Casting Carbon, Furnace Oil, Diesel additive, Automative lube, Electricity, and Gas Oil.