Bitumen, also known as asphalt in the United States, is a liquid that is formed by distilling crude oil and is used for its waterproofing and adhesive properties. Distillation of bitumen eliminates lighter crude oil components including gasoline and diesel, leaving only the "heavier" bitumen. To increase its grade, the manufacturer also refines it many times.
Bitumen can also be found in nature: naturally occurring bitumen deposits can be found at the bottom of ancient lakes, where extinct animals have decayed and been exposed to heat and pressure. Bitumen is a material with waterproofing and adhesive properties that can be found naturally or produced by distilling crude oil. It's made up of complex hydrocarbons and contains calcium, iron, sulphur, and hydrogen, among other things.
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Polymer Modified Bitumen (PMB) is a form of specially designed and engineered bitumen that is used to make pavement, heavy-duty roads, and home roofing solutions that can withstand severe weather. PMB is bitumen with a polymer applied to it, giving it added resilience, cohesion, and resistance to fatigue, stripping, and deformations, making it a good choice for infrastructure.
Bitumen Emulsion is a combination of fine bitumen droplets and water. However, since bitumen is a petroleum product, it does not mix with water and is sticky, it is difficult to disintegrate into fine droplets. An emulsifier is used to solve this problem. A surface-active agent is what an emulsifier is. By preventing the bitumen from mixing with other droplets, the emulsifier holds it in its fine droplet state. Since the droplets are so tiny, they float in water. “As a result, bitumen emulsion is a dispersed substance made up of three components: water, bitumen, and emulsion.”
Cutback Bitumen: Bitumen that has been dissolved in a solvent is known as cutback bitumen (liquid bitumen). Naphtha, gasoline, kerosene, white spirit, and other solvents are popular. The form of solvent determines the curing time, while the volume determines the Cutback Bitumen's viscosity. Depending on the solvent used, cutbacks are classified as either Rapid-Curing (RC) or Medium-Curing (MC). They're also given a number that shows the cutback's minimum kinematic viscosity (fluidity).
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The building industry uses the most processed bitumen. It is primarily used in the paving and roofing industries. Bitumen is used as a binder in asphalt for highways, runways, parking lots, and foot paths, accounting for 85 percent of all bitumen generated. Gravel and crushed rock are combined with dense bitumen to keep it together before being added to roads. Because of its waterproofing properties, bitumen is used in the roofing industry for 10% of all bitumen used worldwide. In different construction materials such as carpet tile backing and paint, 5% of bitumen is used for sealing and insulating purposes. Bitumen has a variety of secondary applications in addition to these primary ones. Soundproofing, explosives, mildew safety, a briquette binder, a mirror backing, shoe soles, fence post coating, and soil stabilization are some other examples.
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The base materials for bitumen processing are residues from the distillation of carefully selected crude oils. The lighter fractions of bitumen are separated from the residues during refining. Depending on the crude source and processing facilities available, many manufacturing methods are used to manufacture specification bitumen. Frequently, a mixture of processes is chosen. The diagram depicts a list of the major refinery processes in use.
Straight reduction from crude or a crude blend using atmospheric and vacuum distillation is the most common refining method. Atmospheric distillation is used in the diagram to distinguish the lighter petrochemical and fuel fractions from the non-boiling portion at the bottom, referred to as an atmospheric residue. Other refinery units receive the lighter fractions, such as gas oil and fuel oils. Bitumen is made from the atmospheric residue. The ambient residue is inserted into a vacuum distillation device to eliminate the last traces of the lighter fractions to prevent heat transformation of the molecules. Here, the pressure reduction reduces boiling temperatures and unwanted thermal cracking of the molecules can be avoided.
Separating the lubricant and bitumen components of crude with specific solvents without damaging their chemical structure is also possible. Different types of bitumen may be generated depending on the solvent used – propane or butane. These processes, combined with finely regulated variations in the vacuum distillation process, allow the production of bitumen with varying penetration levels. The softening point and this property are the two most important distinguishing characteristics of bitumen made to engineering requirements. Sensitivity to temperature and ageing, as well as cohesion and elasticity, are all important physical properties that are tested using precise tests.
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Bitumen can be further extracted by blowing hot air through it at high temperatures (around 280°C) to change its physical properties for industrial use. Air rectified and oxidised bitumen are the two forms of oxidised bitumen, depending on the degree of oxidation. At room temperature, oxidised bitumen has a distinct stiffness and a rubbery nature that affects how it reacts to stress. The oxidation process changes the bitumen's stiffness and softening point, as well as other important physical properties. The degree of the reaction can be varied by varying the duration of the oxidation or air blowing phase, which results in distinct end products. Air rectified bitumen is used in paving and some roofing applications, while oxidised bitumen is used in roofing.
The final bitumen product can be made to technical specifications either directly in the refining process or by combining different physical properties of bitumens. The appropriate proportions of higher and lower viscosity residues which be blended at the refinery, at terminals, or at a third-party facility where blend components and finished products can be easily transported and distributed.
Major grades such as paving, oxidized, cutback, emulsion, PMB, and others make up the commodity category. From 2019 to 2026, PMB is expected to develop at a rate of over 4.5 percent. Because of their superior quality and longevity, PMB are commonly used in road construction as well as building and construction. To change the properties of bitumen, different materials are added, such as thermoplastic elastomers like styrene polymers and rubber, thermoplastic polymers like ethylene copolymers, polyethylene, and polypropylene, and thermosetting polymer resins.
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The addition of these polymers in trace amounts, either mechanically or chemically, increases the elasticity and tensile strength of the material, extending its fatigue life. Despite the fact that PMB is a newcomer to the bitumen industry, it will take a long time for it to gain traction. Because of increasing construction and road maintenance all over the world, particularly in Asia Pacific, the paving segment contributed significantly to the overall market and will maintain its share. Because of the type of manufacturing technique and the properties that result, various bitumen types find a broader application in the building and industrial sectors.
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Penetration graded bitumen products are what paving is known as. It's made from carefully chosen crude oils and refining processes that are meticulously controlled. Asphalt cements and liquid asphalts are the two main types of paving bitumen available on the market. Cement paving grades are semi-solid asphalts that can also be heated into a fluid state. After that, the fluid type is sprayed or combined with other substances. Annual global vehicle sales reached 96.8 million units in 2017 and are projected to rise to 125.5 million units by the end of the forecast period, necessitating the construction of more and better roads. As a result, the market for paving products for roadway applications will be high and will continue to grow in the future.
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Few Indian Major Players:
· Pure Bitumen
· ASIAN BITUMEN COMPANY
· Fondement Bitumenous Industries Pvt Ltd
· Apilux Paint Factory in Howrah, Kolkata, West Bengal
· S N CHEMICALS
· New Zeal Constructions
· Kudrat Enterprise
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