Asphalt or bitumen is a sticky, black and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid that is present in most crude petroleums. It's also found in some natural deposits like the La Brea Tar Pits, which is actually bitumen, not tar. Tar is produced by the destructive distillation of coal.
Once used mostly as an adhesive or for waterproofing, asphalt's usefulness in paving became widely recognized in the 1830s. Now, 85% of asphalt is used for paving purposes, and it is the most widely recycled material in the US, both by gross tonnage and by percentage. As fossil fuels become more scarce, asphalt manufacturers and researchers are developing sustainable ways to manufacture non-petroleum based asphalts out of vegetable matter or by recycling used motor oils.
Element experts test asphalt and other construction materials to relevant safety and quality standards. Call us today for more information.