What is asphalt: Read about bitumen

Bitumen is a sticky, black, highly thick liquid or semi-solid petroleum refined product; its old name is asphalt.
Bitumen or asphalt is used in construction of road and water proofing in buildings and other structures. In road construction, it works as binder or glue. In building construction, its main uses are bituminous water proofing product as bitumen roofing felt (tar felt), sealing material, expansion and contraction joint sealing material and use for water proofing the building.

  • Use in Bitumen in Building
    • Use as water proofing coat on DPC i.e. known as damp proof course and laid at plinth level of the building.
    • Use on bearing plaster which is done under bearing of RCC slab on the top of wall.
    • Use as sealing compound in expansion and contraction joint in building.
    • Use as priming coat under tar felt treatment on the expansion joint and roof surface.
    • Use as bitumen painting on the top roof of building for waterproofing.
    • Use as waterproofing in down or depressed slab meant for toilet.       
  • Types of bitumen
              Bitumen obtained from distillation of crude petroleum is known as ‘’straight-run’’ bitumen. When this ‘’straight-run’’ bitumen is further treated by blowing air through it, it attains a rubbery consistency and is known as ‘’blown’’ bitumen. When straight run bitumen is blended with a volatile or partly volatile solvent it is known as ‘’cut back’’ bitumen. The straight run bitumen emulsified with water is called ‘’bitumen emulsion’’
    • Blown bitumen
                Blown bitumen due to its higher melting point and greater resistance to flow than ordinary straight- run bitumen is generally used on building construction. Blown bitumen should confirm to requirement of Indian Standard: 102. It is available in six grades namely 85/ 25, 85/40, 95/15, 115, 15,135/10 and 155/6. The two figures denote softening point and penetration. For instance grade ‘’85/25’’ means bitumen having a softening point of 85 degree centigrade and a penetration of 25.In general indication as to where
      These grades are used in building construction is as under:-

 Grade   Purpose
85/ 25 &95/15

 Used in expansion and contraction joint in structures, fixing of insulating coats in building.

 85/25 &115/15     

 Damp-proof coarse, insulation of cold 

Storage, coating of pipes.

 85/25&25/40 Sticking of bitumen felts
 115/15 & 135/10    Manufacture of bitumen felts.

The application temperature of blown bitumen grade 85/25 is 350-
400 degree F (177-204 degreeC).

    • Straight-run bitumen
       Straight-run bitumen shall confirm to the requirement of Indian Standard: 73. Indian Standard Institution has classified straight-run bitumen in six grades according to their penetration, namely R-25, R-35, R-45, R-65, R-90 and R-200.
    • Cut –back bitumen
       Cutback bitumen shall confirm to the requirement of Indian Standard: 217. Indian Standard Institution has classified cut-back bitumen in three types namely –slow curing ( SC), medium curing (MC) and rapid curing ( RC).
    • Bitumen emulsion
      Bitumen emulsion shall confirm to requirements of standard laid down by the testing agency which has classified bitumen emulsion in 3 grades i.e. rapid setting, medium setting and slow setting.
  • Handling of bitumen drum:-
     When we take the supply bitumen drum, than its handling is most important as the drum may damage if unloading is not proper while unloading from vehicle. The bitumen drum shall not be stored in low laying areas wherein rainwater is likely to collect around the drums and leak in to the drums creating pocket of water inside the bitumen.
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