What is Bitumen?

Bitumen occurs in nature in several forms.
Harder: Easily crumbled bitumen in rock asphalt
Softer: More viscous material which is present in tar sands and asphalt ‘lakes’. Another way in which it can obtained is via petroleum processing in this manner bitumen is essentially residue yielded thru distillation petroleum process. Though it can found in natural form, the world currently relies for all goals on petroleum.

In addition, tars derive as condensates from processing of coal (at very high temperatures), petroleum, oil-shale, wood or other organic materials. Pitch is produced when a tar is partially distilled so that the volatile components have evaporated.



pars universal bitumen has different grades include:

  • penetration
  • viscosity grade
  • polymer modified bitumen
  • performance grade
  • blown asphalt
  • cutback
  • emulsion

Petroleum bitumen is typically use for asphalt. In Europe for instance bitumen means the liquid binder. In North America, on the other hand the liquid binder is referred to as asphalt, or asphalt cement.

Difference between Bitumen and Asphalt

It`s actually liquid binder that holds asphalt together. Actually the usage of bitumen is asphalt.

A bitumen-sealed road has a layer of bitumen sprayed and then covered with an aggregate. This is then repeated to give a two-coat seal.

Most of manufacturer provide asphalt a plant that heats, dries and mixes aggregate, bitumen and sand into a composite mix. It is then applied through a paving machine on site as a solid material at a nominated or required thickness, relative to the end use. Asphalt results in a smoother and more durable surface than a bitumen-sealed road.


“asphalt” and “bitumen” are often used interchangeably to mean both natural and manufactured forms. In American English, “asphalt” (or “asphalt cement”) is commonly used for a refined residue from the distillation process of selected crude oils. Outside the United States, the product is often called “bitumen”, and geologists worldwide often prefer the term for the naturally occurring variety. Common colloquial usage often refers to various forms of asphalt as “tar”, as in the name of the La Brea Tar Pits.

Naturally occurring asphalt is sometimes specified by the term “crude bitumen”. Its viscosity is similar to that of cold molasses while the material obtained from the fractional distillation of crude oil boiling at 525 °C (977 °F) is sometimes referred to as “refined bitumen”.

It primarily used for paving roads. Other uses are for Bituminous Waterproofing Products, including the use of bitumen in the production of roofing felt and for sealing flat roofs.

Naturally occurring crude bitumens is the prime feed stock for petroleum production from tar sands currently under development in Alberta, Canada. Canada has most of the world’s supply of Natural Bitumen, covering 140,000 square kilometers (an area larger than England), giving it the second largest proven oil reserves in the world. The Athabasca oil sands is the largest bitumen deposit in Canada and the only one accessible to surface mining, although recent technological breakthroughs have resulted in deeper deposits becoming producible by in-situ methods.


In the past, the companies used bitumen to Waterproof Boats, and even as a coating for buildings with some additives. The Greek historian Herodotus said hot bitumen was used as mortar in the walls of Babylon. It is also possible that the city of Carthage was easily burnt due to extensive use of bitumen in construction.

Vessels for the heating of bitumen or bituminous compounds are usually subject to specific conditions in public liability insurance policies, similar to those required for blow torches, welders, and flame-cutting equipment.

Also some people use the Bitumen in early photographic technology. The bitumen used in his experiments were smeared on pewter plates and then exposed to light, thus making a black and white image.

Thin bitumens plates are sometimes used by computer enthusiasts for silencing computer cases or noisy computer parts such as the hard drive.


The world has become increasingly concerned over the global climate change thought to be caused by greenhouse gases, chief among them anthropogenic carbon dioxide which is released into the atmosphere from burning carbon fuels. This has led to the introduction of bitumen alternatives that are more environmentally friendly and non toxic. Bitumen can now be made from non-petroleum based renewable resources such as sugar, molasses and rice, corn and potato starches.

It can also be made from waste material by fractional distillation of used motor oils, which is sometimes disposed by burning or dumping into land fills. Non-petroleum based bitumen binders can be made light-colored. Roads made with lighter-colored pitch absorb less heat from solar radiation, and become less hot than darker surfaces, reducing their contribution to the urban heat island effect.


It `s black or dark-colored (solid, semi-solid, viscous), amorphous, cementitious material. Also it found as rock asphalt, Gilsonite, tar and bitumen derived from oil, which is referred to petroleum bitumen. Currently most of the roads globally are paved with this material. Today the world’s demand for asphalt accounts for more than 100 million tons per year which is approximately 700 million barrels of bitumen.