The term “bitumen” refers to the tar-like petroleum deposits found in oil sands. Generally, this thick, black, viscous crude oil must be heated or diluted with hydrocarbons before it will flow.
For thousands of years before the first civilization in Sumer, the substance we call bitumen was already prized as an adhesive the result, apparently, of an ancient hunter’s discovery that he
could attach his flint arrowhead to a shaft with a sticky black substance found in a nearby
GENERAL PROPERTIES OF BITUMEN ARE AS FOLLOWS:
- Most bitumens are colloidal in nature.
- Bitumen are thermoplastics.
- They have no specific melting, boiling or freezing point .
- They are insoluble in water.
- They are highly impermeable to the passage of water.
- They are generally hydrophobic.
- They are chemically inert.
- They oxidize slowly.
The terms “bitumen” and “bitumens, oxidized” may be used interchangeably with “asphalt” and “asphalt, oxidized”, respectively. Other synonyms for bitumen are “Asphaltic bitumen”, “Asphaltum”, and “Petroleum asphalt”. When sold in its natural state, bitumen is used only for road paving; it must be processed rigorously for use in gasoline and diesel fuel production.
The penetration of a bitumen specimen may be defined as the distance in tenths of a millimeter (1/10mm) to which a standard needle penetrates the material under known conditions of time, loading and temperature. The grade of semisolid and solid bituminous material is usually designated by the penetration and the bitumen price will be different based on the grade.
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