Bitumen: The Viscous Essence of Road Construction


Bitumen, a naturally occurring and remarkable substance, is a black, sticky, and highly viscous form of petroleum. Often specified by the term “Crude Bitumen,” this dense material requires dilution or heating before it can gracefully flow. The distinctive characteristics of bitumen, with its thick consistency reminiscent of cold molasses, make it a cornerstone in various industries, primarily finding its place in road construction and waterproofing applications.


Crude Bitumen vs. Refined Bitumen


Crude Bitumen, in its raw and unaltered state, emerges naturally. Its viscosity, comparable to cold molasses, makes it a challenging material to handle in its original form. To enhance its usability and versatility, Crude Bitumen undergoes processes such as dilution or heating. In contrast, Refined Bitumen, derived from the fractional distillation of crude oil boiling at 525 °C (977 °F), represents a more processed and specialized form of bitumen.


The distinction between Crude and Refined Bitumen is vital in understanding the range of applications and industries where these variants find utility. While Crude Bitumen is closer to its natural state, Refined Bitumen offers specific properties tailored for diverse industrial requirements.


Primary Use in Road Construction


Bitumen’s primary claim to fame lies in road construction, where it commands a whopping 70% of usage. In this context, it serves as the adhesive or binder that, when mixed with aggregate particles, creates asphalt concrete. This composite material forms the very foundation of road surfaces, providing durability and resilience to withstand the rigors of vehicular traffic and changing weather conditions.


Beyond road construction, bitumen plays a crucial role in bituminous waterproofing products. These include the production of roofing felt and the sealing of flat roofs, where the material’s impermeable nature adds a layer of protection against the elements.


Forms of Bitumen: Tar, Rock Asphalt, and Natural Derivatives


Bitumen manifests in various forms, and its versatility is further underscored by its diverse sources. Tar, a derivative from oil, represents one facet of bitumen, offering specific properties that find utility in various applications. Rock asphalt, a naturally occurring variant, brings forth a geological dimension to bitumen, showcasing the substance’s adaptability across different origins.


Whether derived from oil or occurring naturally in rock formations, bitumen in its various forms finds its way into construction and infrastructure development, demonstrating its indispensability in modern society.


Components of Asphalt: Understanding the Chemistry


The components of asphalt, classified into four classes of compounds, provide insights into its chemical composition and behavior:


  1. Saturates: The percentage of saturates correlates with the softening point of the material. These compounds contribute to the physical characteristics of bitumen, influencing its performance in different applications.
  2. Naphthene Aromatics: Comprising partially hydrogenated polycyclic aromatic compounds, naphthene aromatics contribute to the overall structure and stability of bitumen. Their presence influences key properties such as viscosity and adhesion.
  3. Polar Aromatics: This class includes high molecular weight phenols and carboxylic acids. These compounds play a role in bituminous waterproofing, contributing to the material’s resistance against water penetration and enhancing its durability.
  4. Asphaltenes: Comprising high molecular weight phenols and heterocyclic compounds, asphaltenes contribute to the cohesive strength of bitumen. Their presence influences the material’s resistance to deformation and its overall structural integrity.

Understanding the chemical makeup of asphalt allows for a more nuanced approach to its application, ensuring that the right formulation is chosen for specific requirements.


Global Demand and Consumption


In 2016, the world’s demand for bitumen surpassed an impressive 100 million tons annually, equating to approximately 1,400 million barrels consumed yearly. This substantial demand underscores the material’s significance in various sectors, solidifying its place as a key player in the global commodities landscape.


Common Terminology: Asphalt or Tar


Bitumen, known for its diverse applications and sources, often goes by different names in common parlance. Whether referred to as asphalt or tar, these terms encapsulate the essence of this versatile material. The interchangeable use of these terms highlights the multifaceted nature of bitumen and its adaptability across different industries and applications.


In conclusion, bitumen, in its various forms, stands as a foundational element in the construction and infrastructure sectors. From road surfaces to waterproofing applications, its unique properties make it an indispensable component in modern society. As the world continues to evolve, the demand for bitumen persists, emphasizing its enduring role in shaping the landscapes we traverse and the structures that define our built environment.



Bitumen is applied in Construction and Maintenance of:




• Fence post coating
• Mulching paper Paved barn floors, Barnyards, Feed platforms
• Protecting tanks, Vats
• Protection for concrete structures
• Tree paints (Protective)
• Water and moisture barriers (Above and below ground)
• Wind and water erosion control
• Weather modification areas


Buildings & Industrial Paving:


• Water & Moisture barriers (Above and below ground)
• Floor compositions, Tiles, Coverings
• Insulating fabrics, Papers
• Step treads
• Building papers
• Caulking compounds
• Cement waterproofing compounds
• Glass wool compositions
• Insulating fabrics, Felts, Papers
• Joint filler compounds
• Laminated roofing shingles
• Liquid roof coatings
• Plastic cements
• Acoustical blocks, Compositions, Felts
• Damp proofing coatings, Compositions
• Insulating board, Fabrics
• Masonry coatings
• Putty
• Soundproofing
• Stucco base
• Wallboard
• Airdrying Paints, Varnishes
• Artificial timber
• Ebonised timber
Insulating paints
• Plumbing, Pipes
• Treated awnings
• Canal linings, Sealants


Hydraulics & Erosion Control:


• Catchment areas, Basins
• Dam grouting
• Dam linings, Protection
• Dyke protection
• Ditch linings
• Drainage gutters, structures
• Embankment protection
• Groynes
• Jetties
• Levee protection
• Mattresses for levee & Bank protection
• Membrane linings, Waterproofing
• Reservoir linings
• Revetments
• Sand dune stabilization
• Sewage lagoons, Oxidation ponds
• Swimming pools
• Waste ponds
• Water barriers
• Backed felts




• Conduit insulation, Lamination
• Insulating boards
• Paint compositions
• Papers
• Pipe wrapping
• Insulating felts
• Panel boards
• Under seal
• Battery boxes, Carbons
• Electrical insulating compounds, Papers, Tapes, Wire coatings
• Junction box compound
• Molded conduits
• Black grease
• Buffing compounds
• Cable splicing compound
• Embalming
• Etching compositions
• Extenders
• Explosives
• Lap cement
• Plasticizers
• Preservatives
• Printing inks
• Well drilling fluid
• Armored bituminised fabrics
• Burlap impregnation
• Mildew prevention
• Sawdust, Cork, Asphalt composition
• Acidproof enamels, Mastics
• Acidresistant coatings
• Airdrying paints, Varnishes
• Anticorrosive & Antifouling paints
• Antioxidants & Solvents
• Base for solvent compositions
• Baking & Heat resistant enamels
• Boat deck sealing compound
• Lacquers japans
• Marine enamels
• Blasting fuses
• Briquette binders
• Burial vaults
• Casting moulds
• Clay articles
• Clay pigeons
• Expansion joints
• Flower pots
• Foundry cores
• Friction tape
• Gaskets
• Mirror backing
• Rubber molded compositions
• Shoe fillers, Soles


Paving (See also Agriculture, Hydraulics, Railways, Recreation):


• Airport runways, Taxiways, Aprons
• Asphalt blocks
• Brick fillers
• Bridge deck, Surfacing
• Crack fillers
• Floors for buildings, Warehouses, Garages
• Highways, Roads, Streets, Shoulders
• Kerbs, Gutters, Drainage ditches
• Parking lots, Driveways
• Portland cement concrete under seal
• Roofdeck parking
• Pavements, Footpaths
• Soil stabilization



• Ballast treatment
• Dust laying
• Paved ballast, SubBallast
• Paved crossings, Freight yards, Station platforms



• Dance pavilions
• Drivein Movies
• Gymnasiums, Sport arenas
• Playgrounds, School yards
• Race tracks
• Running tracks
• Skating rinks
• Swimming & Wading pools
• Tennis courts, Handball courts
• Synthetic playing fields & Running track surfaces




We can offer the below mentioned bitumen grades:


Penetration Grades (ASTM Standard): 40/50, 60/70, 80/100, 85/100, 120/150 & 200/300.


Penetation Grades (EN Standard): 10/20, 20/30, 30/40, 30/45, 35/50, 40/60, 50/70, 70/100, 100/150 & 160/220.

Oxidized Grades: 75/25, 75/35, 85/25, 85/35, 85/40, 90/10, 90/15, 90/40, 95/25, 105/15, 105/35, 110/30,  25/95 & 115/15.


Cutback Grades:


  •  Rapid Curing (RC): RC–30, RC–70, RC–250, RC–800 & RC–3000
  • Medium Curing (MC): MC–30, MC–70, MC–250, MC–800 & MC–3000
  • Slow Curing (SC): SC–70, SC–250, SC–800 & SC–3000


► Cationic Emulsion Grades: CMS–2, CMS–2h, CRS–1, CRS–2, CSS–1, CSS–1h & CRS K1–40


► Anionic Emulsion Grades: HFMS–1, HFMS–2, HFMS–2H, HFMS–2S, HFRS–2, MS–1, MS–2, MS–2H, RS–1, RS–2, SS–1 & SS–1H


Paving Grade (Australian Standard): C170, C240, C320


Performance Grade: PG52, PG58, PG64, PG70 & PG76 


Viscosity Grades: VG10, VG20, VG30 & VG40.


Various Packaging:


Standard Specification Of Packing Steel Drum


Standard Specification Of Jumbo Bag


Standard Specification Of Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC) Tote


Standard Specification Of Packing Polybag


Standard Specification Of Packing Polycube