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The difference between mineral bitumen and petroleum bitumen

mineral bitumen

Have you ever wondered about the production process of the asphalt you walk and drive on? How is it manufactured, and what role does bitumen play in its production? Let's explore.

Bitumen, a black, viscous substance, is derived from the binding of various hydrocarbons. It is formed by blending these hydrocarbons in a colloidal form and can also be obtained through the distillation of crude oil. Bitumen is generally classified into two categories: mineral bitumen (natural) and petroleum bitumen (refinery).

Mineral bitumen refers to naturally occurring bitumen found in mines or bitumen lakes. Countries such as Canada, Australia, Iraq, Russia, and Venezuela have significant mineral bitumen reserves. Additionally, there are bitumen mines in locations like California, Mexico, and Trinidad. On the other hand, petroleum bitumen is obtained through several stages of refining crude oil.

Bitumen finds extensive application in various industries, with road asphalting and waterproofing being among its primary uses. Let's delve into these applications:

  1. Road Asphalting: Bitumen is a key component in asphalt production. It acts as the binding agent that holds together the aggregates (such as crushed stone, sand, and gravel) in an asphalt mixture. The mixture is heated, combined with bitumen, and then laid on the road surface. Bitumen provides durability, flexibility, and weather resistance to the asphalt pavement, making it suitable for road construction and maintenance.
  2. Moisture Insulation: Bitumen's waterproofing properties make it an excellent choice for moisture insulation applications. It is commonly used to create a protective layer on roofs, foundations, and other surfaces that require protection against water infiltration.

Bitumen, whether obtained from natural mineral sources or through refining crude oil, plays a significant role in the production of asphalt. It is used to bind aggregates in the asphalt mixture, resulting in durable road surfaces. Additionally, bitumen's waterproofing properties make it useful for moisture insulation applications.

What are the distinctions between mineral bitumen and petroleum bitumen? While these two types of bitumen share similarities, they differ in composition. For instance, mineral bitumen typically contains nearly three times more sulfur compared to petroleum bitumen. Another distinction lies in their purity percentages. Natural bitumen, like other materials, contains various impurities, including ash (typically less than one percent). Additionally, petroleum bitumen yields a larger quantity of oil compared to mineral bitumen.

Let's explore mineral bitumen and its different forms

- Natural Bitumen: Natural bitumen is a type of wet or solid bitumen derived from crude oil. Over time, volatile components of crude oil evaporate under specific conditions, leaving behind a relatively black substance known as natural bitumen. There are various types of natural bitumen, such as lake bitumen and rock bitumen.

- Bitumen Lake: When crude oil rises naturally through fractured layers of the Earth and some of its components evaporate, natural bitumen appears in the form of a lake on the Earth's surface. Iran, for example, has bitumen lakes, including the Behbahan Bitumen Lake.

- Bituminous Rocks: Most commonly, certain types of limestone and sandstone undergo transformation into bituminous rocks. These rocks were formed from crude oil present in those areas, and as volatile substances evaporated over time, bitumen remained in these rocks. The amount of bitumen in these rocks can range from 10 to 80 percent.

Now let's discuss petroleum bitumen

Petroleum bitumen is produced through the refining of crude oil and has replaced mineral and natural bitumen in various industrial applications, including asphalt pavements. It is obtained by refining crude oil in distillation towers, and at the end of the distillation process, petroleum bitumen remains at a melting point of nearly 400 degrees Celsius. Different types of petroleum bitumen include soluble bitumen, blown bitumen, bitumen emulsion, and modified bitumen.

Mineral bitumen and petroleum bitumen differ in terms of composition, sulfur content, purity percentage, and oil yield. While natural bitumen is obtained from crude oil through natural processes, petroleum bitumen is produced through refining crude oil and is commonly used in asphalt pavements and other industrial applications.

Bitumen 60/70 is a type of petroleum bitumen. The numbers 60/70 refer to the penetration grade of the bitumen, which indicates its consistency and hardness. The penetration grade represents the depth (in tenths of a millimeter) to which a standard needle penetrates the bitumen sample under specific conditions of time, temperature, and applied force. Bitumen 60/70 has a medium penetration grade, indicating its moderate hardness and consistency. Therefore, Bitumen 60/70 is a grade of petroleum bitumen commonly used in various applications such as road construction, waterproofing, and industrial processes.

Bitumen 80/100 is also a type of petroleum bitumen. Similar to Bitumen 60/70, the numbers 80/100 refer to the penetration grade of the bitumen. In this case, Bitumen 80/100 has a higher penetration grade, indicating that it is softer and more viscous compared to Bitumen 60/70. This specific grade of bitumen is commonly used in road construction and other applications where a softer and more flexible binder is required. Therefore, Bitumen 80/100 is a grade of petroleum bitumen, not mineral bitumen.

Uses of mineral bitumen and petroleum bitumen

Both mineral bitumen and petroleum bitumen have various uses in different industries. Here are some of the common applications for each:

Uses of Mineral Bitumen

  1. Asphalt Production: Mineral bitumen is a crucial component in the production of asphalt. It acts as a binding agent that holds together the aggregates in an asphalt mixture, creating durable road surfaces.
  2. Waterproofing: Mineral bitumen is used for waterproofing applications. It is applied as a protective layer on roofs, foundations, and other surfaces to prevent water penetration.
  3. Industrial Applications: Mineral bitumen finds use in various industrial processes, such as insulation, corrosion protection, and surfacing for storage tanks.
  4. Adhesives and Sealants: Bitumen is utilized in the manufacturing of adhesives and sealants, providing excellent bonding properties and sealing capabilities.
  5. Pavement Preservation: Mineral bitumen can be used in pavement preservation techniques like chip sealing and slurry sealing, extending the lifespan of existing road surfaces.

Uses of Petroleum Bitumen

  1. Asphalt Production: Petroleum bitumen is the primary binder used in the production of asphalt for road construction and maintenance.
  2. Roofing Materials: Petroleum bitumen is used in the manufacturing of roofing materials, such as shingles and membranes, providing waterproofing and weatherproofing properties.
  3. Pipe Coating: Petroleum bitumen is applied as a coating on pipes to protect them from corrosion and provide insulation.
  4. Paving and Surfacing: Petroleum bitumen is used for paving and surfacing applications in driveways, parking lots, and other surfaces that require a durable and flexible binder.
  5. Industrial Binders: Petroleum bitumen is used as a binder in the production of various industrial products, including paints, coatings, and adhesives.

It's important to note that while mineral bitumen and petroleum bitumen have overlapping applications, their specific characteristics, availability, and regional preferences may influence their usage in different parts of the world.

ATDM CO is a reputable manufacturer and exporter specializing in Bitumen 60/70. We take pride in offering a diverse selection of high-quality grades tailored to meet specific customer demands. Our product range includes three distinct quality classifications: premium, second, and third types, each produced with meticulous attention to detail and utilizing advanced manufacturing facilities. Whether you require drums, bags, or bulk quantities, we have flexible packaging options to cater to your volume requirements. At ATDM CO, we prioritize customer satisfaction by providing a comprehensive range of choices to suit various project specifications and budgets.

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