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Basic Principles of Scrap Tire, Earth Retaining Structures

D. Allen Hughes, PE

Throughout the United States and Canada, millions of waste tires are being generated each year. Huge stockpiles of waste tires represent an enormous depot of lost energy, materials, and money. Moreover, waste tires present a number of environmental, health and safety hazards to the public and represent a serious public nuisance. While scrap tires represent only about 2 percent of the total solid waste stream in industrialized countries, tires decompose slowly. This combined with limited uses of scrap tires and limited methods of disposal results in stockpiling of scrap tires. According to the Rubber Tire Manufacturer Association, US annual tire production is about 270 million and Canadian annual tire production is about 25 million. US scrap tire stockpiles are estimated to be about 700 to 800 million tires, with 17 US states having individual stockpiles with at least 1 million scrap tires. The US EPA estimates that 9 million scrap tires are exported annually from the US. Most of the exported tires go to undeveloped countries for further use on vehicles and eventually into stockpiles.

The US EPA estimates the largest domestic use of scrap tires is energy recovery. The second largest use is in civil engineering projects. This course will outline three uses of scrap tires as earth retaining structures. The course includes example designs for retaining walls that utilize following types of products as the basic structural unit: (a) individual tires filled with gravel or low strength flowable fill, (b) bales of compressed tires, (c) compressed tire bales encapsulated in reinforced concrete. The design charts have been developed for varying wall heights and batter, as well as for various loading conditions.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

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NY PE & PLS: You must choose courses that are technical in nature or related to matters of laws and ethics contributing to the health and welfare of the public. NY Board does not accept courses related to office management, risk management, leadership, marketing, accounting, financial planning, real estate, and basic CAD. Specific course topics that are on the borderline and are not acceptable by the NY Board have been noted under the course description on our website.