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When you think of asphalt, you might picture the road beneath your tires or the pavement you walk on. It’s a common material in our daily lives, but there’s more to it than what meets the eye. In this blog, we’ll explore some fascinating things you probably didn’t know about asphalt! 

What You Call Asphalt Is Blacktop

The asphalt you think of when you hear the word is a mix of materials, one of which is true asphalt. The rest can be rocks, rubber, and other items that all bond together to form a very durable and relatively flexible road surface. Technically the name of this mixture is Blacktop.

True Asphalt Is a Form of Crude Oil

So if what you’re driving on is blacktop, where did the word “asphalt” come from? Asphalt is a form of crude oil, the lowest grade available. Asphalt rises to the Earth’s surface from oil deposits underground.

Asphalt Is an Old Material That’s Been Used for Centuries

Asphalt/blacktop isn’t a new invention. While it may seem like a modern substance and has been refined through decades of research, asphalt as an industrial material has been in use for centuries. There are records of Indigenous/Native Americans using asphalt for waterproofing, for example.

Asphalt Is Completely Recyclable

You can recycle all of the asphalt you use. If you have an old asphalt parking lot and are removing the old asphalt, that can be re-processed and then re-used to pave another lot or driveway. It’s one of the most recyclable materials around.

Mixing Asphalt With Rubber Creates a “Quiet” Surface Material

Road surface asphalt, or blacktop, can be made of different mixtures, including bits of old rubber. These bits are from old tires that were shredded and mixed in to form a quieter, more durable surface. This rubberized asphalt requires specific temperature ranges for installation but better withstands high heat. 

Asphalt Mixtures Differ Due to Regional Temperatures

The asphalt road surface used in colder regions differs from the asphalt road surface you find in hotter regions. The mixture used is modified so that the surface, once complete, is better able to withstand the more extreme temperatures in the region. This is why asphalt roads in the Pacific Northwest buckled in the 2021 heat wave while roads in Phoenix remained in good shape.

The La Brea Tar Pits Are Asphalt Pits

You may have heard of the La Brea Tar Pits, a collection of bubbling pits in the middle of Los Angeles that have been turned into a science center with active excavations of animals that were trapped in the pits millennia ago. The popular image is that of a deep, sticky black lake of tar trapping whatever’s unfortunate enough to touch the tar. In reality, these tar pits aren’t deep pits of tar — they’re shallow pools of asphalt rising to the surface from an underground oil field. And that very asphalt has been used over the centuries as a glue and a road surface.

For Durable Asphalt Paving, Trust The Professionals

If you need asphalt paving in Ambler, PA, contact Local Paving and Concrete. Find out about road and driveway paving in Lansdale, PA, and the surrounding area. You want lots, driveways, and other asphalt surfaces to look good, and Local Paving and Concrete offers the quality you’re looking for.

SEPTEMBER 14, 2023

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