Definition - What does Bitumen mean?

Bitumen is a highly viscous hydrocarbon that occurs naturally or is obtained as a residue in the process of crude oil distillation. It is black in color and is mainly used in road surfacing. The composition of bitumen is not definite but can vary from a thick liquid to a brittle solid. In general terms, bitumen is considered to be thick, sticky and viscous with high amounts of sulfur, wax, paraffin and other contents that make it a suitable material in road construction.

Petropedia explains Bitumen

Heavy crude oil produced from a reservoir can be bituminous because of its lower API degree which means that this type of hydrocarbon liquid will be thick, sticky and viscous. However, such type of crude oil is produced, sent to refineries and when processed in refineries it yields maximum amount of lower grade petroleum products such as asphalt or bitumen or coal tar, paraffin wax residual furnace oil, petroleum coke, etc. Thus, refineries process heavy crude oil and capitalize on lower grade petroleum products like these.

Bitumen is also a by-product produced from a refinery. It is commonly referred to as asphalt and coal tar because all these by-products have either or less same compositions and properties of high amount of thickness, viscosity, sulfur content, wax, etc., and can only be utilized in the road construction, rubber tire manufacturing and roofing solutions (such as bitumen waterproofing solutions and asphalt roll roofing).

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