How is Asphalt Made? | Sapphire Gas Solutions, Houston TX

How is Asphalt Made?

After witnessing a few roadworks involving asphalt, you’re probably wondering, “How is asphalt made.” Asphalt is used in many applications such as building roads, bike paths, sidewalks, parking lots, airport runways, and tennis courts. When in liquid form, it can be used to coat pipes and roofing.

Asphalt is the material that binds crushed gravel or stone, known as aggregates, to create a hard surface. Its color ranges from dark-brown to black. Many people used natural asphalt until the late 19th century. Today, most manufacturers refine asphalt from crude oil, which has long-lasting characteristics like natural asphalt.

How is asphalt made? Learn all the steps involved in the asphalt manufacturing process. #sapphirenatgas Click To Tweet

Now let’s look at the process of asphalt manufacturing.

Asphalt Manufacturing Process 

The asphalt production process involves several steps, from distillation to air-blowing        

  •  Distillation Process: Crude oil gets heated then moved into the distillation chamber, where more lighter-weight and volatile components get removed. The heavy elements remaining are what the manufacturers use to make asphalt.
  • Cutting Back: Asphalt gets blended with a more volatile substance. When exposed to air or heat, the volatile compounds will evaporate, leaving the solid asphalt. The evaporation speed determines the asphalt’s curing rate.
  • Emulsification: Asphalt may get emulsified to form a product that’s easy to mix with aggregate. Emulsifying agents like silicates, soap, or vegetable oils are added to lower the chance of asphalt-water separation during emulsification.
  • Air Blowing: If the manufacturers want to use asphalt for coating purposes, they will have to inject air. Asphalt gets heated to 500° Fahrenheit as air bubbles get forced into the liquid asphalt for many hours.

Normal Job Sites

There are three types of asphalt mixes: warm mix asphalt, hot mix asphalt, and cold-mix asphalt. Asphalt manufacturers can process the various kinds of asphalt mixes to meet a particular project’s unique needs. For normal job sites, the manufacturers need to develop an asphalt mix strong enough to prevent cracking. 

How Natural Gas Fits

Most asphalt manufacturers use natural gas in the heating processes to save on costs, lowering production costs. Natural gas is a clean energy source and is more sustainable than most fuels. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is environmentally friendly as it doesn’t produce soot when burned. And if LNG spills at the worksite, it will evaporate quickly.

Asphalt Production and Natural Gas

Asphalt producers who know answers to the question “How is asphalt made?” need to switch to LNG for asphalt production. Many temporary or stationary asphalt production facilities that use natural gas have reported reduced production costs.

Contact us for LNG and CNG installation services for asphalt production facilities.