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Bitumen is a low-grade of crude oil which is composed of complex, heavy hydrocarbons. In an oil reservoir, bitumen is a thick, viscous fluid and must be extracted from the ground. When extracting it, a lot of heat and effort must be used to upgrade it to a better product.

Although bitumen is hard to extract from the ground, it can bubble naturally to the surface of the Earth in petroleum seeps.


These seeps are places where fossil fuels and petroleum products leak out of the Earth instead of being trapped deep below the ground. In these seeps, bitumen, asphalt, and tar bubble up into pools. Additionally, bitumen is the main fossil fuel component of oil sands.


When bitumen combines with Asphaltines a solid is formed that is useful for paving roads Bitumen is a black and pasty material that is used in road asphalt and insulation.


Bitumen is a black, semi-solid or liquid substance with high viscosity produced by the non-destructive distillation of crude oil during petroleum refining. The core industry using bitumen is road construction (asphalt) and another significant field is the building industry (roofing membranes, water-proofing felts).

Bitumen is the only final petroleum product that is heavier than water . all petroleum products without exception are lighter than water, and therefore the specific gravity of each petroleum product is its density relative to water.

Specific Gravity @ 60˚F = [Density of petroleum products or oil (kg / m3)] / [Density of water (1) kg / m3]


Bitumen has many uses and is often used for road construction, iso gum and covering many industries. Bitumen is measured based on the degree of penetration (Penetration) and the identification index of a bitumen is the same degree of permeability.

Types of bitumen:

1-  B 60/70 : this is quality item & penetration @ 25 centigrade .means is penetration is 60 to 70 (1/10mm)

 2- B 85/100:this is quality item & penetration @ 25 centigrade .means is penetration is 85 to 100 (1/10mm)

 3- B Bitumen is produced and consumed according to geographical and climatic conditions.


Bitumen in cold regions can be used in tropical regions. Hydrocarbon bitumen is very dense and viscous and has a very high sulfur content.






Types of bitumen :


1-Natural bitumen: They are found under oil petals.

2- Petroleum bitumen that is refined from crude oil sediment( Vacuum Bottom Residue) Bitumen contains 11% hydrogen, 87% carbon and 2% oxygen.


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Bitumen, also known as asphalt in the United States, is a substance produced through the distillation of crude oil that is known for its waterproofing and adhesive properties. Bitumen production through distillation removes lighter crude oil components, such as gasoline and diesel, leaving the “heavier” bitumen behind. The producer often refines it several times to improve its grade.

Bitumen can also occur in nature: Deposits of naturally occurring bitumen form at the bottom of ancient lakes, where prehistoric organisms have since decayed and have been subjected to heat and pressure


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Bitumen and asphalt, what’s the difference

When people talk about asphalt and bitumen , the words are often used to describe the same thing, which is not correct. To set the record straight we offer an explanation of the difference below.
Bitumen is the liquid binder that holds asphalt together.


A bitumen-sealed surface is a layer of bitumen sprayed and then covered with an aggregate. This is then repeated to give a two-coat seal.

Asphalt is produced in a plant that heats, dries, and mixes aggregate, bitumen, and sand into a composite. This is then installed across a surface, for example, an asphalt driveway.
It’s all good to understand the difference between the two. However, which one is the best option for you?

Asphalt, also known as bitumen is a sticky, black, highly viscous liquid or semi-solid form of petroleum. It may be found in natural deposits or may be a refined product, and is classed as a pitch. Before the 20th century, the term asphaltum was also used.


The word is derived from the Ancient Greek  ásphaltos. The largest natural deposit of asphalt in the world, estimated to contain 10 million tons, is the Pitch Lake located in La Brea in southwest Trinidad (Antilles island located on the northeastern coast of Venezuela), within the Siparia Regional Corporation.

The primary use (70%) of asphalt is in road construction,where it is used as the glue or binder mixed with aggregate particles to create asphalt concrete.


Its other main uses are for bituminous waterproofing products, including production of roofing felt and for sealing flat roofs. bitumen, dense, highly viscous, petroleum-based hydrocarbon that is found in deposits such as oil sands and pitch lakes (natural bitumen) or is obtained as a residue of the distillation of crude oil (refined bitumen). In some areas, particularly in the United States, bitumen is often called asphalt, though that name is almost universally used for the road-paving material made from a mixture of gravel, sand, and other fillers in a bituminous binder.


Bitumen is also frequently called tar or pitch—though, properly speaking, tar is a byproduct of the carbonization of coal and pitch is actually obtained from the distillation of coal tar.


Bitumen is defined by the U.S. Geological Survey as an extra-heavy oil with an API gravity less than 10° and a viscosity greater than 10,000 centipoise. At the temperatures normally encountered in natural deposits, bitumen will not flow; in order to be moved through a pipe, it must be heated and, in some cases, diluted with a lighter oil.

It owes its density and viscosity to its chemical composition—mainly large hydrocarbon molecules known as asphaltenes and resins, which are present in lighter oils but are highly concentrated in bitumen. In addition, bitumen frequently has a high content of metals, such as nickel and vanadium, and nonmetallic inorganic elements, such as nitrogen, oxygen, and sulfur.


Depending on the use to which bitumen is put, these elements may be contaminants that have to be removed from the finished product. By far most refined bitumen is used in paving asphalt and roofing tiles, as is a large amount of natural bitumen.

However, most of the bitumen extracted from Canada’s oil sands is upgraded into synthetic crude oil and sent to refineries for conversion into a full range of petroleum products, including gasoline.


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In addition to being found naturally in seeps and the oil sands, bitumen can be produced by removing lighter fractions from crude oil during the refining process. Fractions that are removed are liquid petroleum gas, gasoline, and diesel.

Once crude oil has been extracted from the ground, the production of bitumen can begin. The crude oil is pumped from the storage tanks and through a system that increases the temperature of the crude oil to 200°C.

The oil then moves to a furnace, where it is heated even higher to approximately 300°C where it is vaporized partially into a distillation column. Here, the separation of the different components of the crude oil occurs. As lighter components rise to the top, heavy components—including the bitumen—fall to the bottom of the column.


This process is known as fractional distillation. Finally, the bitumen is obtained by further distilling the residue in a vacuum distillation column. This type of bitumen is known as straight run bitumen. The grade of the bitumen depends on how much volatile material remains in the distilled bitumen—with more volatiles resulting in a less pure, more liquid product

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