What Is Asphalt?
An Incredibly Useful By-ProductAsphalt (also referred to as blacktop in North America) is a dark brown or blackish compound that is made from the by-product of crude oil. Asphalt is made up of 80% carbon as well as sulphur and traces of a few other materials. After crude oil has been refined into products such as gasoline and rubber, asphalt is the tar-like material that is left over and what a useful and economical compound it is!
From Tar to RoadwaysTo get the most out of asphalt a bonding agent, known as an aggregate, is needed. The bonding agent will strengthen the tar-like asphalt and also make it more durable. When it comes to paving, the tar-like asphalt is not pre-mixed with the aggregate but rather poured over the aggregate, such as a bed of gravel, sand or crushed rock, and then smoothed and leveled with a steamroller. Asphalt is flexible enough to handle geographical variations of hills and curves and due to it’s aggregate is strong enough to accommodate the extremely heavy loads of cars and trucks. This is why asphalt has become the most popular paving material for asphalt driveways, parking lots, roadways, airport tarmacs, racetracks, running trails, etc.