Types of bitumen

Being highly applicable and dominant in the constructions, all types of bitumen have notable high demands recently. As a matter of fact, bitumen is one of the main petrochemical products of which many other useful products have been produced.

Besides, all types of bitumen have several applications in construction and road maintenance either directly or through asphalt.

In other words, bitumen accounts for nearly 90% of all demands in the world.

What are the bitumen types?

Generally speaking, bitumen divides into the grades and types as follows.

  • Cutbacks
  • Emulsions
  • Viscosity grades
  • Oxidized bitumen
  • Penetration grades
  • Performance grades

AC grades (Asphalt Cement)

Each of these grades has a specific feature and application due to its function. For instance, emulsions

are suitable for rainy seasons, humid and warm climates. Penetration grades are also appropriate for hot regions, according to the exact grade of the product.

Good to know that the bitumen experiments will determine the functions of types of bitumen. The specifications and test results will indicate which type is proper for a specific country and climate.

For example, bitumen penetration grade 60/70, 80/100, and cutback MC 30 all have a high demand in India. Most of the Indian construction companies apply these grades. Now, let’s take a look at some characteristics of Cutbacks.


In the refineries, they add a certain amount of petroleum extracts such as kerosene, naphtha, diesel oil, and furnace oil to perform as a solvent. This is how they manufacture cutbacks. On the positive side, these grades do not need heating at the project. That’s why they are one of the popular grades in the world. India, Tanzania, Kenya, and Africa have high demands for cutbacks.


Being low in viscosity, emulsions are suitable for repairing and maintaining roads, waterproofing, spraying, etc. They are easy to handle, transfer, and apply. Consequently, India, Kenya, Australia, Turkey, and some African countries have a high import volume of this type. Importantly, the stability of emulsions depends on the following factors:

  1. Type of emulsifier and its quantity
  2. Water evaporation speed
  3. Amount of bitumen, and
  4. Mechanical forces

Viscosity grades

Viscosity grades of bitumen are the most appropriate grade for high temperatures.

In comparison with the penetration grades, VG types are easier to handle, transfer, and apply. Moreover, VG grades are more resistant to rutting.

As can be seen, all types of bitumen have a specific feature and function. Therefore, knowing the types and their uses are essential for the constructions.