Types of bitumen
Demand for various types of bitumen has grown significantly in recent years due to the different countries’ government’s policies of developing transport and road infrastructure.
Governments’ decision to increase budget allocation for road construction projects will result in an increase of the bitumen consumption in the countries.
For instance, the number of roads and highways in Kenya in 2016 was only 14,000 km, which increased to more than 20,000 km in 2018, which indicates an increase in road construction projects and consequently the consumption of bitumen in this country.
What are the types of bitumen and their applications?
There are different types of bitumen in the global bitumen market, including MC30, MC70, MC250, MC800, MC3000
grade bitumen and cationic emulsion bitumen such as CSS-1, CMS-2, CRS-2, and CRS-1.
As a general explanation of this substance, bitumen is a hydrocarbon that is black to dark brown
in color and completely dissolves in carbon sulfide and carbon tetrachloride. Bitumen is solid
at ambient temperature. But as the temperature rises, it becomes a paste and then liquefies.
The important use of bitumen is due to the existence of two important properties of this material being waterproof and sticky.
Bitumen extracted from oil or special minerals is called pure bitumen,
which is classified according to the origin of the formation.
Pure bitumen is also subjected to other processes to find the desired
properties for different applications and form different bitumen types
(including blown bitumen, soluble bitumen, emulsion bitumen, polymer bitumen, etc.).
They produce bitumen from oil distillation.
In fact, such bitumen is petroleum bitumen or distilled bitumen.
Petroleum bitumen is the product of two stages of crude oil distillation in the distillation tower.
In the first stage of distillation, light materials such as gasoline and propane separate from crude oil.
This process takes place at a pressure close to one atmosphere (units). In the second stage, heavy compounds such as diesel and kerosene exit.
This process takes place at a pressure close to vacuum. Eventually, a mixture of very fine solid particles which is asphaltene remains.
However, some types of bitumen are in nature due to the gradual conversion of crude oil and the evaporation of its volatiles over many years.
Such bitumen is natural bitumen and is more durable than oil bitumen.
This type may exist in pure form in nature (lake bitumen)
such as Behbahan Iran bitumen lake and American Trinidad bitumen lake
or it is mined (mineral bitumen).