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Turning food waste into tires

March 6, 2017

Turning food waste into tires

By: Pam Frost Gorder
Published on March 06, 2017

WOOSTER, Ohio—Tomorrow’s tires could come from the farm as much as the factory.

Researchers at The Ohio State University have discovered that food waste can partially replace the petroleum-based filler that has been used in manufacturing tires for more than a century.

In tests, rubber made with the new fillers exceeds industrial standards for performance, which may ultimately open up new applications for rubber.

As Katrina Cornish explains it, the technology has the potential to solve three problems: It makes the manufacture of rubber products more sustainable, reduces American dependence on foreign oil and keeps waste out of landfills.

Cornish, an Ohio Research Scholar and Endowed Chair in Biomaterials at Ohio State, has spent years cultivating new domestic rubber sources, including a rubber-producing dandelion. Now she has a patent-pending method for turning eggshells and tomato peels into viable—and locally sourced—replacements for carbon black, a petroleum-based filler that American companies often purchase from overseas.

About 30 percent of a typical automobile tire is carbon black; it’s the reason tires appear black. It makes the rubber durable, and its cost varies with petroleum prices.

Read more at The Ohio State University News.

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