Emulsion bitumen plant

Bitumen extracted from oil or minerals, is called pure bitumen, classified according to its source. Pure bitumen will be process in order to find the desired properties for various applications. There are different types of bitumen (such as blown bitumen, dissolved bitumen, emulsion bitumen, polymer bitumen etc.).

Bitumen must be liquefied. There are three common methods for liquefying the bitumen:

  • Heating
  • Petroleum solvents
  • Using water as a solvent

For various reasons such as environment pollution by petroleum solvents, high cost and hazardous conditions associated with the use of solvents and…, today emulsion bitumen is used in many countries.

Emulsion is a mixture of two immiscible liquids, one of which is liquid particles suspended in another liquid. The suspended liquid is called Internal or discontinuous phase and the other liquid is called external or continuous phase. Emulsion bitumen is a mixture of bitumen and water, made by emulsifier. In this mix, bitumen is not soluble in water, but in very small cells floating in the water.

Emulsifier is a chemical substances used as additives in the production of emulsion bitumen. These materials have mixing properties with bitumen and allow the mixture of water and bitumen to spread over the surface. The bitumen layer will cover the surface when the water is evaporated. Now the cold mixture is more common than the hot mixture and used in road-building and roof covering.

Using emulsion bitumen technology unlike HMA saves up to 30% bitumen and 40 % effective in rubble climate and reduce energy consumption up to 5.1 times. Emulsion bitumen, because of water, makes a good binding between the new layer and bottom layer. Due to the wear resistance, the emulsion bitumen can be used in the range from spring to autumn (when the air temperature is not less than 5 degrees) even for wet environments.

Emulsion bitumen is a mixture of bitumen, water and a emulsifier. The emulsifier amount is very low (about 3.5 to 5 percent of bitumen weight). Water consumption of this type of bitumen is about 30 to 50 percent of bitumen weight. Emulsifier normally is Alkali salts of organic acids or ammonium salts that causes the bitumen particles become charged. Thus the bitumen particles repel each other due to the induction time and in the form of balls to thousandths of a millimeter in diameter floating in water. Using this type of bitumen, reduce environmental pollution, since solvents such as oil or flammable solvents are not used. The risk of ignition during bitumen transportation decreases.

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