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Ultimate Guide to Different Grades and Uses of Bitumen

The world that we live in depends heavily on the uses of bitumen. You can use the substance to waterproof, seal, and insulate a range of materials. The sturdy binder in this material is what people employ widely in the construction of roads. We use bitumen to build and maintain roads at lower costs and for longer periods of time overall. This chemical comes in a wide range of forms and concentrations. This substance has a variety of characteristics and features depending on its source whether natural or refined. Because of this, we can separate the chemicals into grades for different uses. 

What is Bitumen?

Natural bitumen, the thickest form of petroleum, is made up of 83% carbon, and 10% hydrogen. And lesser amounts of oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur, and other elements. It is a naturally occurring polymer with a low molecular weight that demonstrates exceptional thermoplasticity. At low temperatures, it becomes stiff and brittle and changes to being flexible at room temperature and flowing at high temperatures.

Bitumen, a low-grade crude oil, is what is composed of complex, heavy hydrocarbons. Since bitumen is a thick, viscous fluid that forms in an oil reservoir, it is what you must remove from the ground. You can easily find a reputable bitumen supplier on the internet. Used rails suppliers are also very trending in the market these days. 

Extraction of Bitumen

Bitumen is processed in three steps:

  • Extracting: During extraction, solids and water is what we take out. 
  • Upgrading: converting heavy bitumen into lighter, intermediate crude oil
  • Refining: The process of turning crude oil into finished products including lubricants, diluents, and gasoline.

Getting rid of it and transforming it into a better product requires a lot of heat and labor. Bitumen can bubble up naturally when petroleum escapes to the Earth’s surface, despite the fact that it is challenging to remove from the ground. These seeps allow fossil fuels and petroleum byproducts to exit the Earth rather than you burying it deep down. In these steps, you will see bitumen and asphalt. Also, tar bubbles can also be seen up into pools. 

Production of Bitumen

You can easily create bitumen by extracting lighter fractions from crude oil during the refining process. In addition to being found naturally in seeps and the oil sands. Liquid petroleum gas, gasoline, and diesel are also the fractions that we eliminate.

Once you remove the crude oil from the ground, the manufacture of bitumen can commence. We use pumps to move the crude oil from storage tanks via a system that raises the temperature of the oil to 200°C. We transfer oil to a furnace, where we heat it to a temperature of around 300°C and partially evaporate into a distillation column.

Here is where the various parts of crude oil separate from each other. Heavy components, such as the bitumen, sink to the bottom of the column as lighter ones climb to the top. Fractional distillation is the method in question. The residue is then what we distill further in a vacuum distillation column to produce the bitumen. Straight run bitumen is the name we give to this kind of bitumen. The amount of volatile material that is left in the distilled bitumen determines the grade of the bitumen. The higher volatiles lead to a less pure, more liquid product.

Uses of Bitumen

  • Waterproofing
  • To protect the canal from eroding
  • The base for the tank
  • Constructions of platforms, roads, and runaways
  • Factory mastic flooring
  • Masonry damp-proofing courses
  • Material for filling the joints

About Bitumen Emulsion

Bitumen emulsion is the most popular technique for applying bitumen on mineral aggregate substrates in construction processes. To create bitumen emulsions, bitumen is basically what you disperse in an aqueous continuous phase. The use of an emulsifier stabilizes them. We often create bitumen emulsions at high temperatures in the form of true emulsions and applied at room temperature as solid dispersions. When building roads, emulsions need to break across the surface of a range of mineral aggregates in a controlled way.

Bitumen is a tiny, unprocessed mixture of distillate crude particles that is black and sticky. It is an eye-catching component of the asphalt used to construct highways and other structures. Additionally, an emulsifier is what you can consider a surface-active chemical that keeps bitumen in a state of very small droplets by stopping it from combining with other droplets. As a result, bitumen emulsion, which is what we compose of bitumen, water, and emulsion, is a unique liquid.

Different Grades of Bitumen Emulsions and Its Uses

The leading companies in the global market for bitumen emulsifiers produce the following grades of emulsions depending on the kind of road, the weather, and consumer demand:

Micro Surfacing

We use bitumen emulsion in micro surfacing to assist retain and protecting the underlying pavement structure while constructing a new driving surface. Asphalt and polymer are what we require to combine to enhance the mixture’s properties. Because it contains chemical additives that allow it to break without the need for heat or sunshine for evaporation. Asphalt emulsion is employed in the micro surfacing.

Slurry Seal

We use the Slurry Seal on both narrow residential streets and busy roads throughout the world. This kind of bitumen emulsion is what we most frequently use on airport runways. Because it offers excellent skid resistance for security reasons. We use Slow Setting Emulsion frequently for slurry seals.

Cold Mix

We use a Cold mix for general surfacing since it is a mixture of mineral aggregates. We mostly use it to maintain damaged road surfaces, repair roads, and recover abandoned spaces.

Tack Coat

We use Tack Coat which is a light bitumen emulsion spray to create a strong bond between two bituminous surface layers. The bitumen emulsion must be evenly and thinly applied to the surface in this grade. We frequently use Rapid Setting Emulsion for Tack Coat.

Prime Coat

You use this type to provide a granular road base for bituminous surfaces. Depending on the qualities of the road base, either a Slow Setting or a Medium Setting Emulsion is what we can use for the Prime Coat.

Crack Seal/ Fog Seal

We use this type to repair cracked, void, or oxidized bituminous surfaces that have become worn out over time. The Emulsion increases the bituminous surface’s lifespan by freely flowing into surface cracks and cavities. Medium Setting and Slow Setting Emulsion is what Fog Seal uses.

Soil Stabilization

You can use it to enhance deficient aggregates or increase the stiffness and load-bearing capability of the road base. We can combine Bitumen emulsion and aggregates in a self-propelled plant as it moves down the road. It leaves a uniform, suitably coated mix on the road surface that is afterward what we compact. Emulsions with a Slow Setting and a Medium Setting are what we frequently use.

Surface Dressing

It is a simple and inexpensive road surface treatment. With proper drainage, maintenance, and resurfacing, surface-dressed roads can last for a very long time. spraying aggregate over bitumen emulsion before quickly rolling it all off the road surface. The route is open to slow traffic in under 30 minutes. We can frequently use Rapid Setting Emulsion for surface dressing.

Penetration Macadam

It is a base structure constructed of compacted rock that has been covered in bitumen emulsion. Bituminous premix or surface patterns are what we use as the wearing course on Penetration Macadam. Rapid Setting Emulsion is commonly used for Penetration of Macadam.

Potholes Repair

It is an instant pothole filler that you may use in all weather, with the exception of periods of strong rain. And consists of carefully graded aggregates and a modified emulsion.

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