Bitumen is a solid or semi-solid material, and is dark brown to black in colour. It is one of the thermoplastic materials which are also found in nature, but is now mainly produced in oil refineries.

From a chemical-physical viewpoint, bitumen is a complex mixture of various hydrocarbons, which can be divided into three groups:

  • Asphaltenes are macromolecules with high molecular weight. They are responsible for the high viscosity of bitumen and form the main component.
  • Resins have a dispersing effect on the asphaltenes and lend bitumen stability and elasticity.
  • Malts are divided into aromatic and saturated compounds and are responsible for the flow and cross-linking properties of bitumen.

Bitumen has a high adhesive strength and water resistance. It is resistant to most acids, bases and salts and was the first oil product to be used in practice by humans - predominantly as an insulating material or binder. Solid at room temperature, bitumen emulsifies after heating with water and can be recycled.
Thanks to all of these properties, bitumen has become an indispensable material in road construction and many industrial applications today.


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Last updated on 20/11/18