Asphalt is a generic term for a family of bituminous materials composed primarily of highly polymerized hydrocarbons derived from petroleum distillates. It is found in almost every place. It’s used to construct roadways, airport runways, parking lots, driveways, playgrounds, and tennis courts, among other uses. Asphalt is used to coat undercarriages of cars, roofing, and pipes to prevent leakages when in liquid form.
However, although asphalt has become a part of our daily lives, most people still wonder what materials are used in asphalt and how it is made. If you are one of those people, don’t fret anymore. This post will shed more light on the materials used to produce asphalt and its manufacturing process. Let’s delve in!
The materials used in asphalt
To give you an idea how asphalt looks like, it has the appearance and texture of very dark-colored sticky lumps or rocks. It can also be compared to tar because it consists mainly of ingredients. However, unlike tar, asphalt does not have any flammable parts whatsoever. It is traditionally made up of just three things:
- Liquid Asphalt (40%), which usually comes from crude oil or natural gas
- Aggregates (45%) such as gravel and sand
- Polymer (15%) which is derived from oil or coal
The liquid asphalt that comes from crude oil or natural gas needs to be refined to become pure enough before it can be used for mixing with aggregates. Refining the liquid asphalt involves distillation, degassing, and other refining processes. Once the liquid asphalt has been purified, it will then be mixed with different ingredients such as polymerizing agents, plasticizers, extenders, illuminants, antioxidants, colorants, stabilizers, and fillers.
After adding these to the mixture, they are measured carefully using calibrated equipment to blend perfectly. Then the hot mix asphalt is poured into a drum mixer where the materials are mixed until they become homogeneous. The mixture is then transferred to paving machines to be spread on the ground and compacted using heavy rollers.
According to the experts from CSG Sealcoating, Jacksonville, the manufacturing process of asphalt is very difficult because it requires high-tech equipment, so most countries have strict regulations regarding its production. Also, the quality of asphalt used for construction purposes is strictly monitored by local government agencies. No wonder why people will always want to know what materials are used in asphalt!
Common asphalt uses
The following are the common uses of asphalt.
Asphalt is commonly used to construct roads or highways, especially because it can withstand heavy vehicular traffic. It is also used as the topmost layer on the tarmac, macadam construction, and other pavements. An even better thing about asphalt is that it doesn’t need any special care during wintertime because it remains stable even in low temperatures; however, you still have to ensure that it has enough moisture content for optimal performance. Ask your local road authority what materials are used in asphalt near you!
Airport runway construction
Another common use of asphalt is building airport runways. Not only does this save more money compared to constructing concrete runways, but it is also easier to repair or build new ones if needed. When combined with aggregate stones and other flexible materials, asphalt can also be used to make strong and high-quality surfacing for playgrounds and tennis courts.
Asphalt is often mixed with other substances such as colophony or coal tar, which turns it into roofing felt that we use for roof repair or installation. This kind of felt is also becoming a popular material in the making of sealing compounds and insulation for both electrical and plumbing pipes.
Asphalt can also be used as an insulating material
Since asphalt absorbs sunlight very well, it is regularly used as the coating on rooftops to prevent leakage problems which would otherwise cost homeowners more money. It can also be used as an insulator between various surfaces, such as those found in double glazing windows, because its heat-absorbing capabilities reduce the costs needed to keep the interior of your house warm during wintertime. You can find out more about what materials are used in asphalt at
Other uses for asphalt
There are also other applications where asphalt is regularly used, such as:
- As a binding agent for making surfacing compounds or patching compounds.
- To make grouting, mortars, screeds, and leveling compounds are used in construction sites.
- To make varnishes and paints applied on surfaces like wood to give it protection against harsh weather conditions.
If you are looking for the best products that provide your structure with reliable surface protection, then have a look at asphalt shingles and other roofing solutions available in the market today.
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