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Iran Bitumen

MGT PetrOil Company is a major producer, supplier and exporter of many petrochemical products in the Middle East which is located in Iran. MGT PetrOil Company has many years’ experiences in exporting and it is active in case of Bitumen supplying.

Iran holds the world's fourth-largest proved crude oil reserves and the world's second-largest natural gas reserves. Moreover, the world's top 10 oil producers and top 5 natural gas producers is belonging to Iran. The most important rout for exporting of oil from Iran and all Persian Gulf countries is the Strait of Hormuz, off the southeastern coast of Iran. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) volumes also flow through the Strait of Hormuz.

in 1963, (NPC) National Petrochemical Company was established to spearhead the development and policy-making for petrochemical industry in Iran. the oldest petrochemical industry in the Middle East is belong to Iran. proudly in ethylene production, Iran can be introduced as a second major producer after Turkey. During 1964-1977 Razi, Abadan, Pazargad, Ahwaz carbon black, Kharg, Farabi and Shiraz expansion projects were completed.

there are many evidences shows that Iranians have been using Bitumen since a dim and distant past and They used Bitumen for their famous stamps and vases, moreover they used to tar their boats and coffins.


What is Bitumen?

Bitumen is one of the material’s engineering that produced via crude oil distillation during petroleum refining and exist in many categories. Bitumen is dark viscous liquids or semi-solids that are non-volatile at ambient temperatures and soften gradually when heated. “Asphalt” is the most suitable way that used for a mixture of small stones, sand, filler and Bitumen (~5%), which is used as a road-paving material. Bitumen emissions are defined as the complex mixture of aerosols, vapors, and gases from heated Bitumen and products containing Bitumen. Usually “Bitumen fume is used in reference to total emissions, Bitumen fume comes from aerosolized fraction of total emissions (i.e. solid particulate matter, condensed vapor, and liquid Bitumen droplets). basically, “emissions of Bitumen is best choice for referring to whole content of Bitumen in air.

Bitumen in Different grade specifications, due to the physical properties, would be able to achieved for specific applications either directly via refining or by blending. For instance, the ordinary product is often referred to as “straight-run” Bitumen in addition, usually it is used in road-paving applications. as a result of blowing air through it at elevated temperatures to produce “oxidized” Bitumen, this basic product would be able to further processed, which is most useful products for using in roofing applications. As a result of using these two products most commonly in industry, it will have defined to four additional classes that are produced to achieve specific physical characteristics by production process modification.

Bitumen is completely different product compared with coal-derived products namely, coal tars or coal-tar pitches. While Bitumen is produced from petroleum, coal-tar products are obtained from the high temperature carbonization of bituminous coals (> 1000 °C) and are by-products of gas and coke production. Coal-tar products have much higher concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) compared with Bitumen, basically range of between three- to seven-ring size. In contrast, Bitumen is containing higher concentrations of paraffinic and naphthenic hydrocarbons and their derivatives, whose large size and viscosity result in limited solubility.


Bitumen Production

Bitumen is primarily obtained via vacuum distillation of carefully selected crude oil or crude oil blends. For simplest form of Bitumen manufacturing divided to the lighter, low boiling point fractions from crude oil resulting in product with high boiling point, high molecular weight with very low volatility. Bitumen ‘s Properties and quality completely depends on the crude oil(s) used in its manufacture. In addition, Bitumen would be able to have further processed for altering its physical properties in order meet certain specifications.

several manufacturing methods are available to gain Bitumen due to the crude source(s) and processing capabilities available within a refinery. Usually a combination of processes is choosing.

Crude oil analysis and selection

Petroleum residuum from crude oils distillation is the starting materials for Bitumen production. consequently, the Bitumen’s properties depend on the crude oil properties which the Bitumen is produced. The crude oil (blends of crude oils) comes from lots of sources, some of them would be assumed naturally occurring and those extracted from oil sands or shale. In conclusion, heavy (Specific Gravity > 0.9) crude oils are used for producing Bitumen of the required quality. These categories of crude oils tend to contain higher Sulphur contents (>1 %m).

as a fraction of suitable crude oils, Bitumen has ranges between 20–50 %m. nowadays, integrated refineries a common practice is to blend multiple crude oils for supplying of quality Bitumen that faced the specifications of engineering. Thus, the compositional analysis of Bitumen obtained via given refinery will not vary greatly.


Oil Sand, Oil Shale and Shale Oil: There are vast reserves of oil sand and oil shale deposits and, as it becomes economically more attractive to extract the hydrocarbons from these deposits, the production continues to increase sharply.

Oil sands are including combination of sand, water, clay and heavy hydrocarbon deposits. These oil sands are obtained either via open cast mining or by in-situ heating in the ground and brought to the surface once it is able to flow. Next It is processed at the source to omitted the non-hydrocarbon impurities, and then can either be hydro treated to obtained lighter synthetic crude or blended with a light condensate to make what is known as a dilbit” crude oil. This would be help to transport them easily to a refinery for processing distillation. Oil shale is defined as a fine-grained rock including a compound known as kerogen. This substance is based for formation of crude oil and gas and basically has not been buried enough deep and hot to gain conventional crude oil and gas. It is extracted in similar ways to oil sand, with converting to hydrocarbons via heating to high temperatures in the absence of oxygen. It would be transported to refineries for conventional processing. another name of Shale oil is tight oil. Tight oil is normally light, sweet’ crude oil which is not suitable for production of Bitumen as it lacks the high molecular weight components specially for Bitumen. considering that, Bitumen in Iran isn't produced from these types of oils and it would be produced from distillation refining process.


straight reduction to grade via petroleum crude oil or a crude blend is The best refining process, which is used for producing Bitumen, that is using atmospheric and vacuum distillation. In the schematic, atmospheric distillation is used to physically separate light, lower boiling point, petrochemical and fuel fractions from the non-boiling component which is defined as atmospheric residuum.

To remove the last traces of the lighter fractions, and stopped molecules thermal transformation, the atmospheric residuum is showed into the unit of vacuum distillation. At decreased pressure it may divide to any remaining lighter fractions, as the boiling temperatures are lower and unwanted thermal cracking of the molecules is avoided.

The lighter fractions, like, vacuum Gas Oils, are removed at atmospheric equivalent temperatures of 345-400°C (650–750°F) and 370–450°C (700–850°F) leaving a high boiling point, high molecular weight hydrocarbon residuum. The atmospheric equivalent temperature to yield the vacuum residuum is normally increased up to 535°C (1000°F) and has a low volatility.

According to the specification grade requirements the vacuum residuum also would be able to used directly, further processed, or used as a blended Bitumen component. The non-distillable materials produced from distillation of atmospheric residuum under vacuum are defined by Asphalt (CAS# 8052-42-4) and Residues (petroleum) vacuum (CAS# 64741-56-6).

Iran Bitumen
Fig 1. Schematic diagram of the distillation process

Different Grades of Bitumen

Bitumen or bituminous binder is including different types:

Penetration Grade

Bitumen 80/100: The characteristics of this type shows that of S 90 grade of IS-73-1992. This is the softest of all types. This type is used for low volume roads in many projects.

Bitumen 60/70: it is harder than 80/100 and can withstand higher traffic loads. The properties of this grade illustrated that S 65 grade of IS-73-1992. Nowadays it used mainly in construction of National Highways & State Highways.

Bitumen 30/40: This is the hardest grade compared with the others and can withstand very heavy traffic loads. The properties of this grade confirm to that of S 35 grade of IS-73-1992. Bitumen 30/40 is suitable to use in specialized applications for example, airport runways and also in very heavy traffic volume roads in coastal cities.


   Penetration Grade Bitumen

















Test Method

   Penetration @ 25°C /100g/5s











   Softening Point











   Dynamic viscosity @ 60°C










ASTM D4402

   Dynamic viscosity @ 135°C










ASTM D4402

Performance after RTFOT

   i. Mass Change (max)

% (m/m)





ASTM D2872

   ii. Softening Point (max)







   iii. Viscosity @ 60 °C , % of original






ASTM D4402

   iv. Increase in softening point (max)







   v. Retained penetration, % of original







   Spot test, % xylene







Table 1. Penetration Grade Bitumen

Industrial grade Bitumen

blown Bitumen is another name for Industrial Grade Bitumen. As a result of blowing air into hot Bitumen at high temperatures (normally beyond 180°C) this product is supplying.

As a result of blowing hot air into Bitumen at high temperatures, changing structural is obtained from Bitumen. During of this process Esters are formed and these esters link up two different molecules and higher molecular weight material increases drastically. In the process the asphaltene content is increased that leads to have higher softening points and very low penetration number. Industrial grade Bitumen is used in industrial applications and in water proofing, tarfelting etc.


Cutback is defined as a Free-flowing liquid at normal temperatures which is producing by fluxing Bitumen with suitable solvents. As a result of adding kerosene or any other solvent, The Bitumen viscosity is reduced. Cutback has been used in tack coat applications.

Bitumen Emulsion
Bitumen emulsion can be illustrated as a free-flowing liquid at ambient temperatures. Bitumen emulsion is a stable dispersion of fine globules of Bitumen in continuous water phase. Dispersion is supplying by processing Bitumen and water under controlled conditions through a colloidal mill together with selected additives. Bitumen Emulsions includes two types cationic and anionic. Normally, Anionic Bitumen emulsions are not suitable for using in road construction as generally siliceous aggregate is used in road construction. Anionic Bitumen emulsions do not give good performance with siliceous whereas cationic Bitumen emulsions give good performance with these aggregates. consequently, cationic Bitumen emulsions are more popular compared with anionic Bitumen emulsions.


Modified Bitumen

Modified Bitumen is including Bitumen with additives. These additives help in further enhancing the properties of bituminous pavements. Pavements constructed with Modified Bitumen last longer which automatically translates into decrease overlays. combination of Pavements constructed and Modified Bitumen is more economical if the overall lifecycle cost of the pavement is taken into consideration. The advantages of using modified Bitumen are as follows:

  • Lower susceptibility to daily and seasonal temperature variations
  • Higher resistance to deformation at high pavement temperature
  • Better age resistance properties
  • Higher fatigue life for mixes
  • Better adhesion between aggregates and binder
  • Prevention of cracking and reflective cracking


Viscosity grade Bitumen

The new method of grading the product has now rested on the viscosity of the Bitumen (at 60°C and 135°C). The new grades have thus evolved with nomenclature:


Minimum of Absolute Viscosity, Poise at 60°C

Approximate penetration grade

   VG 10



   VG 20



   VG 30



VG 40



Table 2. Viscosity grade Bitumen

Paving grade Bitumen is supplying by refineries and conforms to IS 73.


Tests on Bitumen
There are different tests to assess the bituminous properties materials. That is for evaluation of different materials properties.


   Type of test

Test Method

   Penetration Test

IS: 1203-1978

   Ductility test

IS: 1208-1978

   Softening Point test

IS: 1205-1978

   Specific gravity test

IS: 1202-1978

   Viscosity test

IS: 1206-1978

   Flash and Fire Point test

IS: 1209-1978

   Float Test

IS: 1210-1978

   Determination of water content

IS: 1211-1978

   Determination of Loss on heating

IS: 1212-1978

Table 3. Tests for Bitumen with IS codes

Bitumen Usages

Industrial Bitumen is a dark, petroleum residue modified by the oxidation process. Its consistency ranges from highly viscous to solid. Industrial Bitumen is a safe material which has multiple uses in industry and a wide range of applications and has Waterproofing properties.

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