Do you all there is to know about asphalt? Check out these surprising facts about asphalt that you might not have known!
Asphalt is a paving material that is used to pave roads, parking lots, walkways, and more. It has been in use for centuries, with the first recorded use for road paving being in Babylon around 615 BCE. However, the use of bitumen, the dark, viscous, sticky liquid that binds mineral aggregates together to form asphalt, is mentioned in an Akkadian cuneiform tablet dating from 2350–2150 BCE! Asphalt was used by the Greeks and Romans, and it was first used in the U.S. in the 1860s and 1870s. Explore more surprising facts about this amazing paving material!
Surprising Facts About Asphalt
- Asphalt is made from 100% natural materials. Asphalt’s binder is made from bitumen, which is a dark, viscous, sticky liquid found in natural deposits or refined from crude oil. The term “asphalt” can refer to bitumen itself, with the finished paving project being referred to as asphalt pavement or asphalt cement. Bitumen is mixed with mineral aggregate, like sand and gravel, to form asphalt pavement.
- Asphalt is an economical paving material. Asphalt is an economical paving material for many reasons. For one, it’s the most commonly recycled material in the U.S. According to the Asphalt Pavement Alliance, recycling asphalt saves American taxpayers over $2 billion a year. Secondly, asphalt pavement has a long life span with regular maintenance.
- Asphalt is everywhere. Asphalt pavement is used on 94% of paved U.S. roads, on 65% of interstate roads. It’s also commonly used as paving for parking lots, walkways, and other walking surfaces.
- Asphalt is a superior paving surface for vehicles. Asphalt’s smoothness means it provides more traction for tires, reduces highway noise, and cuts down on a vehicle’s fuel consumption.
- Asphalt benefits communities and the economy. As a sustainable, cost-effective material, asphalt’s benefit to our communities and economy has to be appreciated. It offers an eco-friendly paving material that provides superior roads and paved surfaces, and it also employs more 400,000 Americans working in the asphalt production, aggregate production, and in the road construction sector, according to the National Asphalt Pavement Association.