Recycling Waste Tire Rubber in Asphalt Pavement Design and Construction

Dongzhao Jin, College of Engineering
Zhanping You, College of Engineering


Non-biodegradable solid tire wastes create a major environmental and public health risk. It is imperative to discover an effective method to recycle tires. The objective of this research is to study recycled waste tire rubber in asphalt pavement design and construction in Michigan’s cold and wet regions. Different construction and design technologies of recycled waste tire rubber have been studied in asphalt pavement, including: 1). Recycled waste tire rubber as rubber modified asphalt binder by dry process in asphalt overlay, 2). Recycled waste tire rubber as hot rubber chip seal in pavement maintenance, 3). Recycled waste tire rubber as stress absorbing membrane interlayer in pavement pre-maintenance, and 4). Recycled waste tire rubber as tire-derived aggregate in the subgrade. The field performance and lab performance were evaluated for recycled waste tire rubber construction and design and conventional asphalt pavement construction and design. The results showed that recycled tire rubber in asphalt overlay will improve the high temperature rutting and low temperature cracking performance and exhibit adequate performance compared with the polymer (styrene-butadiene-styrene) asphalt overlay in high traffic conditions. Also, rubber-modified asphalt pavement mitigated the noise level by 2-3 dB on the road at different vehicle speeds. Recycled tire rubber as hot rubber chip seal can have 56.5% higher pull-off strength compared with conventional chip seal. The fracture energy of the recycled tire rubber as a stress absorbing membrane interlayer increased 8.17-19.2% for various material combinations compared with the control asphalt mixture. Recycled tire rubber as tire-derived aggregate can exhibit equal elastic modulus compared with the soil subgrade. In conclusion, recycled waste tire rubber in asphalt pavement can improve pavement performance in the overlay, chip seal layer, tire-derived aggregate layer, and stress absorbing membrane interlayer. In addition, it reduces waste tire accumulation in the environment and supports sustainable waste management practices.