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Asphalt is a natural substance obtained during petroleum processing. It is the bottom layer produced in the distillation of crude oil after gasoline, naphtha, and kerosene have been removed. Also known as bitumen, asphalt is viscous or semisolid in consistency and can be combined with other materials, such as concrete. Because of its consistency and structure, asphalt is normally transported and stored at high temperatures, so special heated storage and shipping containers are required.
Asphalt is widely used in the construction industry to produce roofing shingles, rolled asphalt concrete, and waterproof sealant for flat roofs and underground tanks. Government agencies often contract with road construction contractors to produce asphalt roads, and individual businesses or organizations may contract with these companies to make parking lots or other surfaces designed for vehicles. According to the Asphalt Pavement Alliance, 94 percent of all paved roads in the U.S. feature asphalt as the surface material. Many companies produce asphalt for the building industry, including Advanced Asphalt Technologies, Associated Asphalt, and Ergon Asphalt & Emulsions.
Professional trade organizations, such as the Asphalt Institute, focus on research, education, and technology transfer within the asphalt industry. Trade magazines, such as the journal Asphalt, can help keep you current on the latest news in asphalt technologies.
Learn more about asphalt by clicking on the links on this page from Business.com.
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