Asphalt Information

September 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Testimonials

A Little About Asphalt

Asphalt pavement may be one of the most taken for granted substances in a busy and mobile society like ours. We drive on it, walk on it, park our cars on it – even play basketball or tennis on it. But most of us rarely think about what the world would be like without this simple yet useful substance.

Even fewer people probably think much about where asphalt comes from. While the asphalt used on roads today is carefully blended in a mixing plant, the basic components come from liquid asphalt and rock.

Natural asphalt – also called tar – is a petrochemical substance manufactured by the earth in much the same way as crude oil. Leftover organic material from eons past becomes tar in time and under great pressure. Sometimes this natural substance breaks to the surface of the earth, bubbling up from beneath the ground as it does at California’s famous La Brea tar pits. In fact, this natural asphalt has preserved many a dinosaur or mastodon for scientists to study tens of thousands of years later.

Asphalt is naturally water resistant and flexible, even when hard. It is ideal for road paving because it is viscous when hot, but solid when cool. So when this hot liquid is blended with crushed stone the result is a solid, moldable substance that can resist heat, cold, water and freezing. Today’s asphalt paving material is about 95% aggregate and sand. The remaining 5% is liquid asphalt – the glue that holds it all together.


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