On Easy Street – Characterization of Bitumen Emulsions

Bitumen emulsions have simplified the processing and storage of bitumen and made road construction a simpler process. The physical, chemical and application-specific properties of bitumen emulsions are highly dependent on the solid content of bitumen, emulsifier and water, as well as the particle size of the bitumen droplets.

At ambient temperature bitumen is not processible. Therefore, different technical methods are used for processing. The best known technique is heating of bitumen until it reaches the liquid state. Another possibility is to process bitumen into an emulsion. Bitumen emulsions are colloidal mixtures of bitumen and water. However, mixing both substances does not form a stable system. Therefore, depending on the specific application stabilizers and emulsifiers are added. In this ready-to-use state, bitumen can be stored, transported and further processed. The push for more effective and environmentally friendly construction processes has resulted in increased interest and research on bitumen emulsions. 

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