What is Instant Bitumen?
Instant Bitumen consists of two separate components, being Asphaltenes (a dry solid powder) and Maltenes (a liquid at room temperatures), the two building blocks of the colloidal system bitumen, which are mixed in situ, at the scene to make bitumen:
- Easy transport, handling and logistics
- At ambient temperatures, no heating required
- Energy efficient
What is the idea behind Instant Bitumen?
We had two major drivers for developing Instant Bitumen:
1. In general, with only a few exceptions, traditional bitumen is a dispensable byproduct of the mineral oil refining industry. For bitumen consumers though it is a vital ingredient of their supply chain. This imbalance sparked the idea to reverse engineer bitumen: let’s make bitumen the targeted product instead of being a residual product.
- 2. Climate change obliges every industry to contribute to cleaner ways of working. This is why we have been deliberately looking for Instant Bitumen ingredients outside the mineral oil industry as the refining sector is one of biggest emitters of greenhouse gases. We wanted to make bitumen easier, greener and safer.
Do I need special equipment to blend it?
Instant Bitumen can be blended using conventional bitumen blending equipment. All you need is a possibility to feed the dry solid powder asphaltenes into the liquid maltene oil at temperatures at around 180 degree Celsius and a stirring device. After mixing it behaves like a standard bitumen and can be blended with standard bitumen as well.
Another possibility is to mix the two components directly within a hot mix plant. The asphaltenes can be supplied into the drum onto the hot aggregate using the filler feed. The maltene oil can be supplied through the bitumen scale. The mixing time needs to be extended by 15 seconds. The asphaltenes and maltenes mix to bitumen and with the sand, the filler and the aggregate to asphalt.
Is Instant Bitumen safe?
As long as you keep the asphaltenes and the maltenes separate it is safer than conventional bitumen, because the two components are handled stored at room temperature and are environmentally friendly. This is increasing the work safety significantly as most of bitumen related accidents are occurring during transport and handling because of the high temperatures involved. After mixing the two components to bitumen the same safety measures apply as if using normal bitumen is used as from now on you are operating at elavated and bitumen typical temperatures of around 180 degree Celsius.
How can I store Instant Bitumen?
The logistics involved are very easy and straight forward. As long as the two components are separate you can store them in a dry place at ambient temperatures. After mixing them to bitumen the same storage conditions apply as for conventional bitumen.
Can Instant Bitumen be used for asphalt applications only?
Instant Bitumen can be used for any bitumen application:
- Hot Mix Asphalt
- Roofing Membranes
- Building and waterproofing chemistry
How do I determine the bitumen grade?
The bitumen grade is simply determined by the blending ratio between the asphaltenes and the maltenes. The higher the percentage of asphaltenes the harder the bitumen, the more maltenes the softer the bitumen.
Does Instant Bitumen work with high RAP content?
High RAP content asphalt applications are ideal for Instant Bitumen. If you are producing an asphalt with a RAP content of > 60% you only need approx. 1,5% of additional virginal binder. Ideally the penetration of the new bitumen compliments the residual binder on the aggregate that way that the combination of the two results in the targeted penetration of the total mix. This usually requires a smaller penetration range than the EN 12591 specification allows and high load to load fluctuations of the new binder is to be avoided at the same time. Using Instant Bitumen does allow you to exactly pinpoint the desired the quality and quantity through the blending ratio you are using.