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Bitumen and bituminous primer – why they are important for road systems

Bitumen – the magic glue in the asphalt mixture

асфалт битум
laying asphalt with bitumen

Asphalt mix generally consists of two main components – rock aggregates and bituminous binder . Rock materials provide the required load-bearing capacity of the asphalt pavement , and bitumen provides a strong interconnection between the stones, as well as hydrophobicity The amount of bitumen in asphalt mixtures varies depending on their purpose, but its presence is mandatory in all cases.

Bitumen is an organic material obtained as a final product from the processing of oil , but which can also be found in natural deposits . It is black in color and has a specific pungent odor. Bitumen has excellent waterproofing properties due to its hydrophobic nature, expressed in the ability of bitumen to repel water droplets. It is widely used in road construction , as well as in construction of buildings and facilities for waterproofing of foundations , retaining walls , superstructure of bridge structures , waterproofing of roofs and sheds, etc.

In order to be used in construction products , bitumen must meet all the requirements of the tests according to the standards of the Bulgarian Institute for Standardization and the European norms. Some of the characteristics for which bitumen is tested are softening point , bitumen penetration , Fraas breakage , viscosity and others.

Bituminous primer

Bitumen is one of the main ingredients in the asphalt mix , but it also serves as a glue between the individual asphalt layers or during repairs. When performing a road construction of asphalt concrete , each individual layer must be covered with bitumen emulsion ( bitumen primer ) before laying. on the next. This helps the layers to stick together and work together to take the load off the vehicles. In addition, bitumen primer covers dust particles that would compromise the quality of the asphalt pavement .

Waterproofing is an integral part of any modern construction – be it a building or a facility. Bitumen primer is the perfect tool for this purpose, as it is hydrophobic and does not allow water to pass through the surfaces treated with it. Bitumen primer is used for waterproofing of foundations in buildings and bridges , in waterproofing of retaining walls , for roof waterproofing . In combination with bitumen tiles , bitumen primer creates a dense barrier for water droplets and prevents them from entering the living space under the roofs .

Base preparation and asphalting

Preparing the substrate before asphalting is one of the most important steps before laying asphalt layers . A few simple steps ensure proper execution of the road structure :

  • Cleaning – the removal of all dust, humus particles, small fractions and contaminants of arable nature provide a good contact surface between the old and the new asphalt layer . It can be done with brushes or brooms, and at best – with an air jet .
  • Drying – it is necessary to remove any moisture from the surface of the previous asphalt layer or the hole that will be asphalted , as the hydrophobicity of bitumen will prevent proper adhesion of the old asphalt layer and the new asphalt mixture .
  • Priming – the application of bitumen emulsion ( bitumen primer ) is extremely important as it ensures good adhesion of the old and new asphalt mixture . Priming should be done in several layers (minimum 2) for optimal effect .
  • Asphalting – After applying bituminous primer , the asphalting itself can be performed. It is necessary to comply with all technological prescriptions of civil engineers – compliance with asphalt technology , ensuring the required temperature of asphalt , compliance with meteorological requirements etc.

Chemical composition of bitumen

студент асфат, битум
студент асфалт, битум

The components of bitumen include four main classes of compounds:

  • Naphthenic aromatic compounds consisting of partially hydrogenated polyacrylic aromatic compounds
  • Polar aromatic compounds consisting of high molecular weight phenols and carboxylic acids produced by the partial oxidation of the material;
  • Saturated hydrocarbons – the percentage of saturated compounds in bitumen is directly related to the softening point of bitumen
  • Asphaltenes , consisting of high molecular weight phenols and heterocyclic compounds.

Most natural bitumens also contain organic sulfur compounds with a total sulfur content of about 4%.

Smart Metal Group strongly recommends to its customers compliance with all requirements for safe work!

a person laid bitumen before laying waterproofing

Битумът and its vapors are carcinogenic . It must be handled in compliance with all healthy and safe working conditions and with all necessary personal protective equipment .
Working with bitumen requires it to be heated to high temperature in order to be liquid . Therefore, the use of a mask that filters out harmful fumes and gloves that protect against serious burns is mandatory . When bitumen gets on the skin, deep wounds are formed, and its removal is difficult after it cools down, so the protective equipment is not to be damaged!

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