Rubber Modified Asphalt (RMA) made from recycled tire rubber powder, a product of Lehigh Technologies, a Michelin North America subsidiary, is now being utilized to resurface a 6.3-mile section of the Lawrenceville Highway in Georgia, United States.

Currently, there are two different methods for modifying liquid bitumen for road resurfacing: the first uses synthetic polymers derived from oil, and the second is RMA. The company's proprietary component Rheopave and micronized MicroDyne rubber powder are used to create RMA, which is marketed as a high-performance material.

The material is said to provide a high-quality road surface as well as address a number of business issues. These possibilities include recycling already-existing, end-of-life tires in the region and replacing recovered materials for polymers made from oil-refining waste. Additionally, RMA sources its materials locally, eliminating the need for material importation from Asia.

“Michelin and Lehigh are proud to take end-of-life tires and give them new life in other products through innovation,” said Kara Fulcher, director of sustainability and government affairs for Michelin North America.

“The Lawrenceville Highway resurfacing project is an excellent example of Lehigh and Michelin’s shared commitment to keep valuable materials in service as long as possible, so we can enjoy life in motion with progressively less ecological impact”, she added.

The sustainable product blend is versatile in its design and can be used to modify liquid bitumen at an asphalt terminal, or alternatively, the material can be directly added at an asphalt company’s site using the dry process – the same process used during the Lawrenceville Highway resurfacing project which began in September 2022 and is finishing up soon.