What is Asphalt?

Asphalt is one of the most common materials used for new roads, driveways, and parking lots. You may have heard of the many incredible benefits of asphalt, but few people actually know what asphalt is. If you’ve ever caught yourself wondering “what is asphalt?”, we are here to explain what asphalt is and why it is a great material to use for your next paving project. 

Asphalt Composition 

Asphalt is composed of two primary ingredients. Aggregates are the first thing used in asphalt. Aggregates are a mixture of crushed stone, gravel, and sand. 95% of the hot asphalt mix is composed of aggregates. The other ingredient in asphalt is bitumen. Bitumen is a black viscous material that holds aggregates together. Polycyclic hydrocarbons, a petroleum byproduct, make up bitumen. 

Types of Asphalt 

There are actually numerous types of asphalt, distinguishes by the process used to bind the aggregate and bitumen. 

Hot Mix Asphalt Concrete

Hot mix asphalt is created under high heat and it is the most durable type of asphalt. This variation of asphalt is a common choice for high-traffic areas like highways or airports. 

Warm Mix Asphalt Concrete

As the name suggests, warm mix asphalt does not require high heat to manufacture. Instead, it uses emulsions, waxes, and zeolites to bind the ingredients. Warm mix asphalt is safer for the environment and requires fewer fossil fuels. However, it is not quite as durable as hot mix asphalt. Typically, warm mix asphalt is used in low-traffic areas or for asphalt patches. 

Mastic Asphalt 

Mastic asphalt uses less bitumen than hot mix asphalt. This type of asphalt is used for roads, footpaths, sports courts, and roofing

Benefits of Asphalt 

  • Can withstand the weight of vehicles
  • Quick application process
  • Easy to patch 
  • Flexible
  • Increased durability with seal coating and proper maintenance 

Put simply, asphalt is the combination of aggregates and bitumen and different types of asphalt use different methods to bind the two. When properly installed and maintained, asphalt is a very durable paving material. However, quality matters when it comes to asphalt installation and repairs. For the best asphalt services in the Indianapolis area, look no further than Baumgartner & Company. To learn more about asphalt or to schedule your next asphalt project, contact us at 317-296-7225 or info@baumgartnerasphalt.com

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