The Rubber Pavements Association (RPA) is creating its own non-profit research entity, the Recycled Tire Engineering and Research Foundation (RTERF).
As envisioned by the RPA, the RTERF will devote itself to exploring the use of crumb rubber from scrap tires in various transportation and construction applications, including but not limited to paving materials. It also will provide technology transfer to appropriate agencies worldwide, the association said.
Donna J. Carlson, managing director of the new foundation and a former RPA executive director, currently is writing a three-year budgetary projection to present to the Internal Revenue Service, which must rule on whether to grant 501c3 non-profit status-the IRS designation for educational and research entities-to the RTERF. Ms. Carlson did not say when she would submit the budget to the IRS, but added that she didn't foresee any problems gaining 501c3 status for the group.
The first research priorities for the RTERF will be development of new tests and construction procedures for asphalt rubber based on the testing and design procedures of the Strategic Highway Research Program and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
Other research goals will include development of pavement designs to reduce noise caused by tire-pavement interaction and evaluation of other sustainable uses for crumb rubber from scrap tires. The foundation will partner with universities, federal and state agencies and private research laboratories to conduct research projects. It also will establish a technical education program for civil and chemical engineering colleges, as well as a training program for design, materials and construction engineers. It will sponsor national and international symposiums on the research topics it promotes, the RPA said.
Unlike similar foundations, which deal mainly with research in experimental technologies, the RTERF deals with a technology whose value has already been proven, Ms. Carlson said. Establishment of the new foundation will give the RTA access to research funds that otherwise it would not necessarily be able to apply for.
``There is some ongoing research the RPA has funded,'' she said. ``But there is a whole book of projects compiled by our Technical Advisory Board-a very comprehensive research program-that goes way beyond our financial means to fulfill it. At least $3 million is needed to fund this and other research that needs to be done.''
The RPA already has ongoing partnerships with Arizona State and Clemson universities, Ms. Carlson said, and it expects to gain more university involvement under its new affiliate membership program.