Everything about bitumen, types, and grades

Bitumen is binding viscous dark brown to black hydrocarbon substance and is produced from crude oil in a refinery process by reducing crude oil. Bitumen is in a solid phase and becomes a paste and eventually a liquid with increasing temperature. It is entirely soluble in carbon sulfide and carbon tetrachloride. Bitumen is known for being resistant to water, oil, and adhesive. This factor makes bitumen the best binder agent for various applications such as asphalt for the surface of roads, waterproofing, and sealing the roof.

Types of bitumen

Gilsonite (Natural bitumen)

Natural bitumen is present in solid form in the shallow layers of the earth’s crust and sometimes erupts from beneath the earth’s crust and is discovered by humans. In fact, abnormal is the surface crude oil, whose light components have evaporated over time and turned into bitumen, which has a heavy hydrocarbon material and has higher durability than petroleum bitumen.


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Penetration grade bitumen

The penetration grade bitumen is the most common type of bitumen for road construction and is known for its resistance and durability to temperature changes. The grade of PEN bitumen is from 15 to 450. The most used range is 25 to 200.

Bitumen 60/70, also called paving grade bitumen, is the most used bitumen in road construction and waterproofing in buildings because of working in a wide range of temperatures (-22 to +76)

The penetration grade bitumen is manufactured at a variety of viscosities from refinery bitumen.

A penetration test is performed to characterize bitumen based on its hardness. The term” Penetration grade bitumen” is derived from this. Once it has been produced, a penetrometer apparatus is used to determine its classification. This penetration test indicates the hardness of bitumen. The laboratory needle penetrates the surface of bitumen; if the needle penetrates in more depth, the high value indicates soft bitumen. In contrast, the shallow penetration depth indicates the bitumen is hard.

Grading bitumen according to penetration serves the purpose of determining the ability of the product to be applied in different construction methods and climates. Then, you must consider the area’s average temperature and how much traffic the area experiences before using this bitumen.

For instance, bitumen 40/50, the first number refers to the minimum penetration and the second one refers to the maximum penetration.

Bitumen 40/50 is the hardest, and 85/100 is the softest one.

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Viscosity grade bitumen

Viscosity grade bitumen is a bitumen grade suitable for street paving used in the road construction and asphalt pavement industry, especially in areas such as India. Viscosity bitumen is ready to produce hot asphalt for paving roads and insulation and production of liquid bitumen. Combining the viscoelastic reaction of bitumen with other means of communication will be very flexible and dense, which performs this behavior at speed used in the response.

Viscosity bitumen, offered as a refinery bitumen, is distilled from aerated vacuum bath aerators. Refinery bitumen is produced from a vacuum pulp of raw materials, and it looks scientific and behavioral.

In the classification based on the viscosity of bitumens according to the amount of absolute viscosity at 60 °, C or kinematic viscosity at 135 ° C, classification and technical criteria for each of them are specified.

The ASTM standard system defines methods such as D3381-09 and AASHTO M226-80, by which the viscosity grade of bitumen is determined.

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