Investigation and Minimisation of Odour Emission from Crumb Rubber Asphalt

Location: Port Melbourne, VIC / Deer Park, VIC / Your University

Duration: 5 months

Proposed start date: Monday 15 July 2019

Project Background

Boral Australia is the country’s largest construction materials and building products supplier with operations in all states and territories. In Australia, Boral supplies concrete, quarry products, asphalt, cement, roof tiles, timber and masonry to build infrastructure, residential construction and commercial buildings. With its headquarters in Sydney, Australia, Boral has approximately 17,000 full-time equivalent employees (including in JVs) working across over 700 operating sites in 17 countries.

Currently across the asphalt industry, consumption of crumb rubber in asphalt has been challenged by the presence and perception of foul-smelling odour/ and volatile emissions that have raised concerns surrounding environmental and human health impacts, especially during asphalt production and road placement.

Plans to introduce more crumb rubber into asphalt production has posed an operational challenge to the industry when considering that a gap in the supply-chain exists, coupled with limited industrial technical capabilities to control or reduce odour during production in order to fulfil OH&S requirements.

Research to be Conducted

Technical research to be conducted are (and not limited to):

  1. Local and international literature publications, patents and reports
  2. The evaluation of chemical composition of crumb rubber and its by-products released under different environmental conditions with radiation exposure
  3. The translation of laboratory findings into recommended operational solution to reduce odour emission by means of physical or chemical methodologies

Materials & Techniques

  1. Sample group: Bitumen with crumb rubber (0%, 10%, 20% & 30%)
  2. Environmental conditions: Ambient condition (Control) and exposure to radiation source – Thermal, UV, Infrared-IR and Microwave (optional)
  3. Measurements techniques: Gas chromatography, DSC-TGA and FTIR

Key Milestones (Date to be Completed)

  • Literature research and design of experiments (Jul 2019)
  • Laboratory – Gas chromatography, DSC-TGA and FTIR measurements on crumb rubber asphalt using thermal emission (Aug 2019)
  • Laboratory – Gas Chromatography, DSC-TGA and FTIR measurements on crumb rubber asphalt using UV radiation (Oct 2019)
  • Laboratory – Gas Chromatography, DSC-TGA and FTIR measurements on crumb rubber asphalt using infrared IR emission (Dec 2019)
  • Report & Presentation (Jan 2020)

Infrastructure capabilities at your University will be considered for use.

Skills Required

We are looking for a PhD student with the following:


  • Inorganic chemist with solid analytical chemistry background in gas chromatography, DSC-TGA and FTIR
  • Environmental science


  • Stakeholder engagement skills (including interpersonal communication skills, scientific writing and presentation skills)

Expected Outcomes

The intended outcome of this project is to reduce or eliminate odour and volatile emission from crumb rubber during asphalt production and placement. Only by eliminating the emission of odour and volatiles that generate both environmental and safety hazards, can we potentially increase the industrial uptake of crumb rubber across the industry.  This outcome would be supported by Boral through undertaking the following activities as part of this project:

  1. Body of knowledge developed from R&D findings on the root cause of odour emission from crumb rubber asphalt
  2. Develop practical cost-effective solution to mitigate odour emission from crumb rubber asphalt
  3. Technical report and presentation in a company, industry, academic or public setting

Additional Details

The intern will receive $3,000 per month of the internship, usually in the form of stipend payments.

It is expected that the intern will primarily undertake this research project during regular business hours, spending at least 80% of their time on-site with the industry partner.  The intern will be expected to maintain contact with their academic mentor throughout the internship either through face-to-face or phone meetings as appropriate.

The intern and their academic mentor will have the opportunity to negotiate the project’s scope, milestones and timeline during the project planning stage.

Applications Close

26 June 2019


APR – 0898