What is bitumen?
What is bitumen?
Petroleum bitumen is a combination of hydrocarbons derived from petroleum. Bitumen is also refereed to as Asphalt. The product itself is black and extremely gluey. Petroleum bitumen has an unpleasant smell, and it is full of carbon. The high content levels of it are the main reason it cannot be used in combustion. This is why it is unlike gasoline, diesel or jet fuel which can all be used as fuel for energy.
Due to its high carbon content, unless it is kept in a heated state of approximately 150 degrees Celsius, it solidifies into a rock-hard wax. Most petroleum bitumen is loaded into road tankers, drums, poly bags, polycubes, bulk vessel, or bitutainers near its boiling point. Operators which handle bitumen at such extreme temperatures should wear protective clothing and gloves at all times.
Petroleum bitumen is environmentally friendly
Although petroleum bitumen is rich in carbon, because it is not burned, it is environmentally friendly. As bitumen does not create CO2 emissions, it is nearly harmless to the environment.
Bitumen can even be recycled. Some countries’ recycle rate of petroleum bitumen can exceed 50%. In most cases special vehicles collect the old pavement and once it is reheated it can be processed and used again.
Our modern day world would not be the same without bitumen
We are an oil dependent world and our dependency to crude oil does not stop with oil. The greater portion of our roads are made with petroleum bitumen. This is because bitumen is a glue which keeps materials like sand, gravel and crushed rock together that make up our roads. Furthermore, bitumen is even used for insulation of roofs, floors, pipes and even certain electrical wiring.