What do Rubber and Egg Shells Have in Common?

In the old days, the answer was not much. But that may be about to change. Researchers have found a way to use food waste — mainly egg shells and tomato peels — as “filler” for car tires.

The idea is to use less rubber — which is petroleum based — and more sustainable materials. And if performance is not affected, why not?

Katrina Cornish, OSU’s Endowed Chair in Biomaterials, explains (that) the benefits of developing this technology would be threefold: making rubber products more sustainable, reducing American dependence on foreign oil, and keeping food—which makes up one-fifth of landfill waste—out of landfills. She and her team gathered various food waste products from Ohio food producers, targeting eggshells for their “porous microstructures that provide larger surface area for contact with rubber,” and tomato peels for their stability at high temperatures. The composite filler not only strengthened the rubber but also allowed it to maintain its flexibility.

And, btw, the food filler might change the color of the tires. Hmmm … tires as a fashion statement?


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