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There is bitumen everywhere. Chances are, you got to the computer where you are reading this by walking over some bitumen. But where did it come from? How is it made? Read on to find out. Bitumen is a lot older than you think. Although now associated with roads and produced in large, complex, modern refineries belonging to enormous petrochemical companies (such as Shell), natural bitumen was found long before this, among the desert dunes of Arabia. Etymology The Romans called it gwitu-men (pertaining to pitch) or pixtu-men (bubbling pitch), converted, after the barbarian invasions to bitumen. The word passed into French, and then, after the Norman conquest of England in 1066, into English, where it was used interchangeably with tar for over a thousand years (though tar derives from coal, and bitumen from petroleum). Early Uses The earliest recorded use of something like bitumen was by the Sumerians, who ruled from the ancient city of Ur on the Euphrates river (near present-day Kuwait). There is evidence, too, that Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar used it for waterproofing and even as grouting for stone roads. The use of bitumen spread further West, and the Bible records a bituminous substance (tar, asphalt or bitumen, depending on the translation) was used in building the Tower of Babel. In 1595 Sir Walter Raleigh discovered a thick viscous lake in the jungles of Trinidad. This was to be the largest natural deposit of bitumen ever found and was used extensively until the mid 1970s. In the late nineteenth century, however, bitumen began to be used for the major industrial uses common today, and with those began synthetic production. Shell began major bitumen production in the UK in 1920, after opening the Shell Haven refinery. Today, Shell produces bitumen all over the world, and is at the forefront of research into new applications for this substance people have used since the dawn of civilization.
GasOilEngineering GmbH. Gymnasiumstrasse 52/4, 1090 Vienna, Austria, Telephone: +43 1 890 10 48 0, FAX: +43 1 890 10 48 11, E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
In the ziggurats in Mesopotamia between 3. Its total width is 30 m. The remaining 10% are converted into industrial bitumen (oxidation bitumen).000 t annually).com . E-mail:office@gasoil-engineering. plant oil was used. but it was actually plant oils were mostly used to embalm the dead in ancient Egypt. For an average-sized temple (surface area: 60 x 45 m. resins.000 years ago . asphaltenes . Example: bitumen consumption for 1 km of the S1 The demand depends on the width of the carriageway.in bitumen varies depending on the origin of the crude oil. The S1 is an express way and corresponds to a moderately developed motorway. It is not chemically changed during this. Bitumen is a mixture of high and non-boiling crude oil components and is yielded via the distillation of crude oil.000 m3 of bitumen.. 292. which derives from the Phoenician "mumia". bitumen was known in its natural form as natural asphalt.g. The distribution of hydrocarbons . it is solid at 25°C and liquid at 175°C.6 t of material. Gymnasiumstrasse 52/4. aside from pure hydrocarbon. corresponding to a month's worth of production of the Schwechat refinery. Not all crude oils are suitable for bitumen production: what is decisive is a sufficient amount of residue from the vacuum distillation with high-boiling components above 500°C. means bitumen. (Source: Corbis) GasOilEngineering GmbH. Bitumen contains.000 B. aromatic compounds. -Bitumen in General The building material bitumen is a high-tech product whose quality is controlled in continuously advancing test procedures. The total bitumen required for 1 km of the S1 amounts to 524. sulfur).alcanes. nitrogen.that's around 1. for the most part. traces of phosphorus and halogens as well as traces of metals (e.90% of the bitumen used in Austria (500.000 and 2. naphthenes. 1090 Vienna. Arcadians or Babylonians used around 50. A few examples demonstrate its cultural and historical significance: In Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq and Turkey) bitumen was used to seal houses and baskets 6. FAX: +43 1 890 10 48 11. bitumen was used as a binding agent 10% of the time.000 years before Oetzi the Iceman lived. iron and vanadium). height: 90m). Austria. Of the 524.6 t are street construction bitumen and 232 t are polymer modified bitumen. History of Bitumen Long before our time. The word mummy. Telephone: +43 1 890 10 48 0. Bitumen was only used rarely to embalm the dead in ancient Egypt.C. Natural asphalt is a relatively hard bitumen that is found in natural deposits. non-metallic elements in organically bonded form (oxygen. the Sumerians. The Phoenician word "mumia" does mean bitumen.6 t. the thickness of the layers and the type of asphalt. nickel. Bitumen is mostly used in roadworks .
Iraq and Russia. This special kind of bitumen is used for road construction in areas where heavy traffic and great stress on the paving is anticipated (e. Iran. E-mail:office@gasoil-engineering. 1090 Vienna.com .C. where street paving is exposed to extreme fluctuations in temperature. Bitumen is yielded during the distillation of crude oil. the plasticity span increased and the elasticity thus improved (less deformation). Gymnasiumstrasse 52/4. In a royal gravesite in Ur. the Sumerian capital (in present-day Iraq) around 2600 B. They contain up to 60% bitumen and are viscous. Ideal crude oils for exclusive bitumen production come from Central America. Telephone: +43 1 890 10 48 0. Conventional distillation bitumen was mainly used as a binding agent in road construction. places great demands on the quality of the bitumen. while softer bitumen can provide higher flexibility. Austria. the softening point (around 70°C) is raised. Softer bitumen provides better resistance against environmental influences. Bitumen & Road Construction In the road construction industry. Harder bitumen can be processed at higher temperatures. The situation in Austria's alpine regions. a board game was found in which bitumen was used as a bonding agent for the inlays and the black coloring. FAX: +43 1 890 10 48 11.. motorway). It is used mainly in road construction. but is also less sturdy when exposed to greater stress. the main deposits of naturally occurring petroleum and/or bitumen were by the Black Sea. The residue after the distillation contains enough high-molecular asphaltenes. To improve its elastic behavior. The export of these products brought a certain level of wealth to the people living in the area. for example. The following polymers are added to bitumen: GasOilEngineering GmbH. but is more sensitive to environmental influences.g. Depending on the requirements at hand. In early antiquity. Bitumen & Polymers Polymer-modified bitumen is bitumen to which certain plastics and polymers (macromolecules: chemical combinations of a multitude of smaller molecules) have been added. Austria imports bitumen crude oils from Saudi Arabia. Polymer-modified bitumen is more resistant to deformation and makes asphalt covers extremely durable. The modification with plastics influences the properties of conventional bitumen. bitumen with varying consistency is used. harder bitumen can provide increased sturdiness.
using physical characteristics. Austria. Oxidation Bitumen Oxidation bitumen is used in industrial applications. Telephone: +43 1 890 10 48 0. This behavior can be presented with the aid of the Maxwell model. Their addition increases the viscosity of the bitumen while only marginally increasing elasticity. FAX: +43 1 890 10 48 11. examinations of bitumen have focused on the rheological properties of bitumen. Bitumen is a visco-elastic substance. but not its elasticity. Test Procedures The properties of bitumen that are used in Austria and Europe are primarily evaluated by means of empirical test procedures. these describe their elasticity and viscosity. By attachment of oxygen. to manufacture roof and sealing sheets. Gymnasiumstrasse 52/4. Oxidation bitumen is produced by having oxygen (controlled injection) act on bitumen at 230°C to 270°C. They combine properties of rubber and thermoplastics. OMV uses a specially developed procedure (Biturox procedure) for the oxidation technology and uses high-performance air injection reactors that inject and distribute air and water across large surfaces. the proportion of resins and asphaltenes rises. They are softened when warmed and hardened when cooled (even repeatedly).com . their hardening stability. sometimes balled-up polymer chains that are linked with a wide mesh. This can be described by physical parameters such as shear modulus.e. Elastomers consist of long. Thermo-elastic plastics turn soft (not liquid) like a thermoplastic at temperatures above their service temperature and can then be shaped. its behavior can be described using an elastic and a viscous component. which leads to higher viscosity and a clear hardening of the binding agent. their paraffin content and their shelf life. their flash point. The rheometer measures the properties of bitumen especially in the upper temperature rang GasOilEngineering GmbH. their adhesion behavior. Thermoplastics (plastomers) consist of linear polymers with little branching. This addition raises the viscosity and stiffness of the bitumen. e. or for coatings and joint sealing compounds. their solubility. They are rubbery elastic at low temperatures all the way to decomposition temperatures. Rheology is the science of flowing substances and describes. 1090 Vienna. Among other things. Recently.g. the deformation of a substance when subjected to loading by external forces. i. phase difference or tensile stiffness. but cannot be re-melted after being processed once. E-mail:office@gasoil-engineering.
Austria. Gasoili engineering has new solutions to offer for Bitumen packing. -Solutions for Bitumenpacking Today there is only limited solutions for Bitumen packing in the market. Please contact us for further information. containing many disadvantages. E-mail:office@gasoil-engineering. FAX: +43 1 890 10 48 11. GasOilEngineering GmbH.com . The only widespread transport tool established are so far bitumen drums . Gymnasiumstrasse 52/4. 1090 Vienna. containing various logistical and financial advantages compared to drums. Telephone: +43 1 890 10 48 0.
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