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Bitumen

Bitumen

T110/0502

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Credit

PAUL RAPSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL RAPSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Bitumen being poured onto a surface. Bitumen is a product of the refining of crude oil. Crude oil is a mixture of hydrocarbons that is heated to separate it into parts called fractions. The lighter hydrocarbon fractions boil off and leave the heavier fractions behind. Bitumen is one of the heaviest and most viscous fractions, containing hydrocarbon chains with 70 or more carbon atoms. It boils at over 600 degrees Celsius. Bitumen is processed to make other products, and is also used in materials such as tar and asphalt.

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