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How was bitumen discovered?


Bitumen has been used as a waterproofing material since ancient times and in the time of Sumerians, Assyrians and even many previous civilizations

Bitumen has been used as a waterproofing material since ancient times and in the time of Sumerians, Assyrians and even many previous civilizations

Bitumen has been used as a waterproofing material since ancient times and in the time of Sumerians, Assyrians and even many previous civilizations, and it has been mostly used in building and insulating ships against water intrusion and sinking. Also in ancient Egypt and Greece, Bitumen was used to embalm corpses, as well as sculptures and decorations, and even in wars to defend the enemy at the gates of cities. 

This valuable material has also been used in combination with baked bricks as mastic in the construction of temples and bridge pillars or as paving the streets and houses. Another application of this very valuable material has been its use as a moisture-proof material and a connecting agent in water storage devices. 

Recorded use of bitumen dates back to about 3800 years ago, the time of the Sumerians. The role of bitumen in ancient Iran, which was known as (Mamaton) was also very basic. Khuzestan bitumen, which is known as "Mamaton" during the Achaemenid period, had many applications such as use in tool making, making utensils with bitumen, stamping and ornaments, etc., and also over time this material has religious, military, architectural and He found medicine and played an essential role in the growth and development of the Achaemenid civilization. 

The Achaemenid dynasty used bitumen for sealing and waterproofing the palace with the grandeur of Persepolis. Remains of it can be seen in the historical complex of Persepolis. Ancient Susa artists used a mixture of bitumen and heated it to obtain a composition that was very similar to stone. They used this material to make various objects as well as to make sculptures and fossils.

There are many uses of bitumen in various industries. More importantly, bitumen is an ideal adhesive material in the road construction, and performs as a perfect material for paving and roofing applications, due to its durability, modifiability, and recyclability. It is estimated that the current world’s use of bitumen is approximately 102 million tonnes per year. About 85% of all bitumen around the world is used in the asphalt pavements in roads, airports, parking lots, etc. However, few people know how bitumen is produced. Bitumen is produced by the distillation of crude oil, or simply found in nature. Based on the source, bitumen’s physical properties such as consistency, stiffness, viscosity, adhesion, and durability may differ. Therefore, it is crucial to becoming more familiar with bitumen’s occurrence in nature and bitumen as a byproduct of crude oil.   In the below video you will find all the details about bitumen production: . Bitumen is an adhesive material composed of complex hydrocarbons. Bitumen has a remarkable ability to change with temperature variations. At lower temperatures, this material is rigid and brittle, at room temperature, it is flexible, at higher temperatures bitumen flows. Bitumen was first used for adhering woods to stone tools some 40,000 years ago (by Middle Paleolithic Neanderthals). Afterward, bitumen was used as an adhesive material in a wide variety of applications. Bitumen has also a unique density and viscosity in comparison to other byproducts of crude oil. Due to the presence of large hydrocarbon molecules known as asphaltenes and resins, which are present in lighter oils but are highly concentrated in bitumen, bitumen has become useful material in binding stones and sands for road construction. In order to understand how bitumen is formed in nature, we need to go back to more than 360 million years ago. These ancient deposits are now the source of natural bitumen in various countries, including Canada, Venezuela, and Oman. Known also as oil sands, the deposits are now a mixture of sand, clay, and water, saturated with a dense and extremely viscous bitumen. Although large natural reservoirs of bitumen exist in many parts of the world, most of the bitumen produced in the world is derived from crude oil. Natural bitumen extraction is more complicated than refining bitumen, therefore it will cost the producers more. It is also interesting to know that natural bitumen contains up to 5% sulfur, heavy metals, and other impurities that must be refined. The process of separating bitumen from crude oil begins in the atmospheric distillation column, followed by a heating process in which the crude oil evaporates. The heaviest part of the oil that remains at the bottom of the distillation column, is called Vacuum Bottom, and form the raw material for producing refined bitumen. Properties and quality of bitumen depend mainly on the crude oil used in its manufacturing process. Bitumen can be further processed by blowing air through it at elevated temperatures. A mild degree of air-blowing is commonly used to make a minor adjustments to the physical properties of the vacuum bottom, such as decreasing the penetration of the bitumen. In this stage, various types of bitumen which have more asphaltene and molecular weight, with higher penetration value are produced. For various types of bitumen visit here. Production of Bitumen by refining crude oil is highly economical. In the distillation process of crude oil, which is essential for producing petrol, diesel, high octane fuels, and gasoline, bitumen is left behind and can be used easily after processing. Infinity Galaxy is an international export company since 2012, providing the best-quality petrochemicals, including all Bitumen grades, White Spirit, all grades of Base Oil, RPO, Paraffin Wax, Caustic Soda, Slack Wax, etc.


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