Take these little-known asphalt facts with you if you’re ever on Jeopardy or to amaze your friends while on road trips.
Asphalt is all around us on roadways, parking lots, roofing shingles, and more. However, most people don’t know just how interesting this common material is! Tucker Paving has been in the asphalt and concrete paving industry for nearly 30 years, so we know asphalt in and out. We put together a list of little-known asphalt facts to boost your knowledge.
Obscure Asphalt Facts
- Asphalt is also called bitumen, which is a glue-like, sticky black material that is made from petroleum; it can be found occurring naturally in nature, such as in the La Brea Tar Pits in California.
- When it is mixed with aggregate—usually stones—it is called asphalt pavement, asphalt concrete, macadam, or tarmac.
- The first known use of asphalt was as a waterproofer on baskets that were made 5,000 years before the keeping of modern time, or 5,000 BCE, by the Indus Civilization, a civilization that occupied bronze-age south Asia. It was also used as mortar by the Sumerians and Babylonians, and by ancient Egyptians in part of the embalming process for mummies.
- You might think that aluminum or paper is the most recycled material in the US, but it’s actually asphalt! According to the National Asphalt Pavement Association, the asphalt industry has achieved a 99 percent recycle rate for asphalt!
- The term “macadam,” which is used in Great Britain for asphalt pavement, came about because John McAdam, a Scottish engineer, pioneered the use of crushed stone and bitumen in road construction some time around the 1820s.
- According to the National Asphalt Pavement Association, of the 2.7 million miles of paved roads in the US, 94 percent of those roads are paved with asphalt, including 65 percent of the interstate system.
- There is a Perpetual Pavement Award, awarded by the Asphalt Pavement Alliance, given to asphalt roadways that have lasted for at least 35 years. One asphalt road has been in existence for over 90 years!
- Asphalt is a quieter pavement. Asphalt has been shown to reduce road noise by 3 to 10 decibels.
- Asphalt retains 60 percent of its condition during the first three-quarters of its lifespan.
- Trials are ongoing into using recycled plastic in asphalt pavement, making asphalt even more eco-friendly than it already is!
Tucker Paving has nearly three decade’s worth of experience in the concrete and asphalt paving construction industry. We provide earthworks, site clearing, site grading, stabilized subgrade, base work, asphalt paving, underground utilities, and concrete curbs, sidewalks, slabs, and tie-beams. Call us at (863) 299-2262, or contact us online, for your next project!