A Tire Gasification Senior Design Project that Integrates Laboratory Experiments and Computer Simulation


  • Brian Weiss Columbia University
  • Marco J. Castaldi Columbia University


A reactor to convert waste rubber tires to useful products such as CO and H2, was investigated in a university undergraduate design project. The student worked individually with mentorship from a faculty professor who aided the student with professional critique. The student was able to research the background of the field and conceive of a novel reactor design to carry out the process. The material and energy balances across the reactor and an economic assessment showed potential success. Laboratory experiments to obtain thermodynamic and kinetic information about tires were performed and their results provided input to an AspenTM simulation. Both the details of the project and the effect on the student’s education are presented.

Author Biographies

Brian Weiss, Columbia University

Brian Weiss received his B.S. from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Columbia University in spring 2005. The work with tire gasification culminated his education in the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering. Currently, he looks forward to pursuing similar projects in efficient chemical conversion as a chemical engineering graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley.

Marco J. Castaldi, Columbia University

Marco J. Castaldi is an assistant professor in the Earth and Environmental Engineering Department at Columbia
University. He received his B.S. ChE from Manhattan College and M.S. and Ph.D. ChE from the University of California, Los Angeles. Prior to joining Columbia University, he worked in industry for seven years researching and developing novel catalytic reactors. His teaching interests lie in thermodynamics, combustion phenomena, and reaction engineering. His research is focused on beneficial uses of CO2 in catalytic and combustion environments, waste-to-energy processes, and novel extraction techniques for methane hydrates.