Asphalt is one of the most commonly used building materials in the world. It's used to create the streets you drive on every day. Whether you drive a car, ride a bike or hop on a motorcycle, if it wasn't for asphalt, you'd be stuck driving over dirt roads and other hazards. Without asphalt, our lives would be much harder than they are today and we should be thankful for the creation of asphalt and all that it does.
There are several types of asphalt on the market, let's look at what they are:
Rolled asphalt concrete is the most common type of asphalt. It makes up more than 85% of the roads you drive on in the modern world. Its often an asphalt/concrete hybrid, with 5% asphalt and 95% aggregates mixed together. There are more than 4,000 asphalt plants in America alone.
Mastic asphalt is denser then rolled asphalt concrete. It has a higher asphalt base, about 10%. This type of asphalt is primarily used in building and for waterproofing. It's an excellent waterproofing agent for flat roofs and underground tank storage.
Asphalt is typically mixed with its aggregates at a high temperature so that they melt into each other before becoming the viscous fluid you've seen construction users work with. Asphalt emulsion allows the mixture to be mixed together at a lower temperature. Emulsion contains less chemical additives making it more environmentally friendly than other types of asphalt.
Asphalt can also be used to make lacquer, such as Japan black, which is used on steel and iron beams. It can be used as a type of paint, ink and graffiti to help such color stick to a surface weatherproofing and waterproofing it. Batteries can also be made out of crude forms of asphalt.
As you can see, there's many uses for asphalt, beyond just being used to pave roads. Asphalt can be used in a variety of ways and when you think about all it does day in and day out as you get to and fro, it truly is an amazing building material.