How to Make Bitumen

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Things You'll Need

  • Atactic polypropylene

  • Compost

  • Metal container

  • Paraffin-base crude oil

  • Safety goggles

  • Safety gloves

  • Temperature controlled hot plate with digital thermostat


Use a temperature controlled hot plate that features a digital thermostat that can heat to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.


Do not start the mixing or heating process before putting on protective gloves, goggles, and clothing that covers legs and arms.

Bitumen is used to create asphalt.

Bitumen has been used as a sealant and waterproofing agent for over 8,000 years. It is a heavy black viscous oil comprised of a mixture of sulfur, nickel, trace minerals, lead, chromium, mercury, arsenic, selenium, and other toxic elements. The flexibility of bitumen is evident by the various ways it is created and its myriad uses. Its manufactured components can be as basic as sugar, molasses, rice, corn and potato starches. Bitumen's natural elements are formed by the fractional distillation -- separation of a mixture into its component parts -- of waste material, used motor oil that has decayed in land fills, microscopic algae, and decaying invertebrate. Bitumen's composition is very thick and heavy and must be heated or diluted before it will flow.

Step 1

Mix one-third atactic polypropylene (APP) -- a soft, rubbery, amorphous polymer -- to a large metal container. APP is the ingredient that gives bitumen its plastic, adhesive properties.

Step 2

Add two-thirds compost into the container. Mix the compost with atactic polypropylene and stir. Mix one-third paraffin -- a combustible hydrocarbon liquid -- which is solid at room temperature, but produces a high-grade lubricating oil when heated.

Step 3

Put on protective goggles, gloves, and clothing that covers arms and legs. Use a temperature controlled hot plate with built-in digital thermometer to heat ingredients up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. This decreases viscosity and transforms mixture from solid to thick liquid bitumen.


Barry Shaw

Barry Shaw has been writing online since 2005, with his work appearing on various websites. He has extensive experience in information technology and Web and graphic design. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in behavioral science from National-Louis University.