What is the difference between Bitumen and Asphalt?

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 commonly used for a refined residue from the distillation process of selected crude oils. Outside the United States, the product is often called "bitumen", and geologists worldwide often prefer the term for the naturally occurring variety. Common colloquial usage often refers to various forms of asphalt as "tar", as in the name of the La Brea Tar Pits. Naturally occurring asphalt is sometimes specified by the term "crude bitumen". Its viscosity is similar to that of cold molasses[5][6] while the material obtained from the fractional distillation of crude oil boiling at 525 °C (977 °F) is sometimes referred to as "refined bitumen". The Canadian province of Alberta has most of the world's reserves of natural asphalt in the Athabasca oil sands, which cover 142,000 square kilometres (55,000 sq mi), an area larger than England.[7]

What are the Oil Sands? (Western Canadian Select)


Canadian bitumen does not differ substantially from oils such as Venezuelan extra-heavy and Mexican heavy oil in chemical composition, and the real difficulty is moving the extremely viscous bitumen through oil pipelines to the refinery. Many modern oil refineries are extremely sophisticated and can process non-upgraded bitumen directly into products such as gasoline, diesel fuel, and refined asphalt without any preprocessing. This is particularly common in areas such as the US Gulf coast, where refineries were designed to process Venezuelan and Mexican oil, and in areas such as the US Midwest where refineries were rebuilt to process heavy oil as domestic light oil production declined. Given the choice, such heavy oil refineries usually prefer to buy bitumen rather than synthetic oil because the cost is lower, and in some cases because they prefer to produce more diesel fuel and less gasoline.[76] By 2015 Canadian production and exports of non-upgraded bitumen exceeded that of synthetic crude oil at over 1.3 million barrels (210×103 m3) per day, of which about 65% was exported to the United States.[75]

Because of the difficulty of moving crude bitumen through pipelines, non-upgraded bitumen is usually diluted with natural-gas condensate in a form called dilbit or with synthetic crude oil, called synbit.  

What is Mesophase Pitch?

Prepared by bitumen, heavy oil, coal tar and other raw materials through thermal condensation reaction is recognized as the precursor of carbon fiber, needle coke, carbon electrode material, foam materials and other raw materials with excellent advanced features  



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