Asphalt i/ˈæsfɔːlt/ or /ˈæʃfɔːlt/ or /ˈæsʃfɛlt/, also known as bitumen, is a sticky, black and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid form of petroleum. It may be found in natural deposits or may be a refined product; it is a substance classed as a pitch. Until the 20th century, the term asphaltum was also used.

The primary use of asphalt/bitumen is in road construction, where it is used as the glue or binder mixed with aggregate particles to create asphalt concrete. Its other main uses are for bituminous waterproofing products, including production of roofing felt and for sealing flat roofs.

The terms asphalt and bitumen are often used interchangeably to mean both natural and manufactured forms of the substance. In American English, asphalt (or asphalt cement) is the carefully refined residue from the distillation process of selected crude oils. Outside the United States, the product is often called bitumen. Geological terminology often prefers the term bitumen. Common usage often refers to various forms of asphalt/bitumen as "tar", such as at the La Brea Tar Pits. Another term, mostly archaic, refers to asphalt/bitumen as "pitch". The pitch used in this mixture is sometimes found in natural deposits but usually made by the distillation of crude oil.

Naturally occurring asphalt/bitumen is sometimes specified by the term "crude bitumen"; its viscosity is similar to that of cold molasses. whilst the material obtained from the fractional distillation of crude oil is sometimes referred to as "refined bitumen".

Read more about Asphalt:  Etymology, Chemistry, Petroleum Production, Alternatives and Bioasphalt

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Famous quotes containing the word asphalt:

    And the wind shall say: “Here were decent godless people:
    Their only monument the asphalt road
    And a thousand lost golf balls.”
    —T.S. (Thomas Stearns)

    And the wind shall say “Here were decent godless people;
    Their only monument the asphalt road
    And a thousand lost golf balls.”
    —T.S. (Thomas Stearns)