Something about my Senior Thesis
My current project, or senior thesis is to create a basic building material using a non-renewable material such as used car tires.
"It is estimated that in the US alone there are in excess of 1 billion tires in illegal tire piles, generating dangerous conditions of uncontrollable fires, air pollution as well as health hazards. To date, most discarded tires were destined to be burned, assisting in alleviating the never-ending energy crisis. However, since the recognition by meteorologists of pending earth warming trends, burning tires is quickly becoming unacceptable and in some countries illegal.
The current distribution of waste tires is:
• 50% to landfill sites and dumps
• 40% incinerated
• 10% recycled
Also to date many of the waste tires are simply shredded and buried in landfills. This too has become an undesirable activity as more and more countries recognize the danger in imbedding tires or tire parts underground, due to the negative impact on the diminishing underground supplies of fresh water.
Finally, tire piles serve as breeding grounds to colonies of disease infected rodents and incubation hot beds for dangerous and deadly insects. and this is why recycling is currently the only acceptable and sustainable solution to the increasing problem of waste tires."*
There exists a current method to shred the tires and mix them with asphalt to be used in roads, this method has proven successful and the material created is way more efficient than our current asphalt, the rubber of the tires gives the composite an elastic property that keeps the roads from cracking. it also prevents potholes and other road imperfections. Well, if this is so amazing why aren't we paving the roads with it? the answer is simple: Labor Unions and asphalt companies. The tire-based asphalt is so efficient that it requires no service or repairing, taking away jobs from road-workers. That is just unacceptable in our current cultural and social paradigm.
This is where my thesis project comes in. To start with, I've split my project into three stages. The first stage is in which I experiment with the material, in this case the rubber from used car tires, during this first stage I will find ways to turn the rubber into a substance or material that can be mixed with another substance to create a new composite that can be used to create a "basic building block."The second stage is finding the process to make this composite, the trick here is that the process must be sustainable in the ways that it cannot use more energy than it creates, it must be a simple process that does not pollute and that is affordable. The third stage of project is to create a whole package out of the process and the material, a package that can be shared and re-created anywhere else in the world so that this process and material can be made virtually anywhere, but with special aim to third world countries that could benefit from this package by building their own economy based on the re-using of the rubber through the sustainable process. Just one more thing left; how do we use this material without running into the troubles of labor unions and big corporations? Well, we aim low, we start distributing to individuals who are willing to make a change, we keep away from selling to big corporations and we let the material-awareness grow from word of mouth and hopefully by the time corporations learn about it, they will realize that the material awareness has been around for longer than they can control.