what-is-asphalt-made-of

What is the Difference Between Asphalt and Bitumen?

Before starting on your next driveway repair or replacement, research each aspect of the paving process. Know what is asphalt made of. This includes also knowing the difference between asphalt, bitumen, and other key terms. While asphalt and bitumen are both used in pavement construction, they each have unique uses and properties.

Bitumen Basics

The liquid binder that holds together asphalt is called bitumen, or mineral tar. Bitumen comes from the partial distillation of crude petroleum. What is asphalt made of? A manufacturing plant heats, dries, and mixes bitumen, aggregate, and sand. A paving machine also applies the mix.

However, people confuse bitumen and asphalt. For example, some roads and driveways use a bitumen seal overlaid with aggregate. But don’t confuse asphalt with tar – a very thick liquid derived from coal that has fallen into disuse for environmental reasons. There are several different types of bitumen like cutback bitumen, plastic bitumen, and also straight run bitumen.

What is Asphalt?

Asphalt is sticky and black, and incredibly thick. Asphalt solidifies at lower temperatures. At high temperatures, the asphalt liquefies. The mixture consists of lime, silica, alumina, and asphaltic bitumen. There are two different types of asphalt: residual and natural. PAving companies obtain natural asphalt from lakes and rocks. On the other hand, residual asphalt is obtained by distilling crude petroleum with an asphaltic base.

Pavers categorize four different types of asphalt: mastic asphalt, cutback asphalt, asphalt cement, and asphalt emulsion. Asphalt emulsion is used in colder conditions. Companies use cutback asphalt for manufacturing bituminous paint. Roofing, waterproofing, and flooring projects can use asphalt cement.

Speak with your paving contractor today about what materials are best for your project.