Mechanical and physical characterization of tire bales
Tire bales are a suitable construction material for conditions which require a lightweight material with high permeability and strength. Although several tire bale case histories have been reported in the literature, only limited material properties of the bales are available. Determining the mechanical and physical properties of the tire bales is necessary for the proper design and construction of future tire bale structures. The development and results from a series of large scale laboratory and field test procedures, used to determine the mechanical and physical characteristics of a tire bale structure, are provided in this dissertation. A tire bale structure, as compared to the individual tire bale, is defined as two or more tire bales stacked upon each other resulting in an interface contact between layers of the tire bales. Results from the test programs indicate that the interface between the tire bales controls the strength and compressibility of the bale structure. The strength of the interface was characterized utilizing a large scale direct shear test, which was modified to include the effects of moisture, soil infill and stress orientation on the interface strength. Interface shear stresses were used to define shear strength parameters for the different tire bale interfaces. The compressibility of the tire bale structure was characterized utilizing a large scale vertical compression test. The influence of the individual tire bale geometry on strength and compressibility was determined by conducting the large scale tests on two bale types, the standard block bale and the standard cylinder bale. A tire ridge interface model was developed to represent the physical characteristics of the tire bales that control the strength and deformations along the interface. Tensions within the baling wires were measured during the direct shear and compression tests using strain gauges attached to the baling wires. A tension meter was also developed so that the baling wire tensions could be determined without damaging the tire bale and baling wires. A destructive expansion pressure test was used at the conclusion of the research program to determine the pressures the tire bale exerts on the surrounding structure after wire breakage.