Q: What exactly is asphalt?
To most people, “asphalt” refers to the finished product on a roadway or parking lot. But technically speaking, asphalt is the heaviest part of petroleum (oil). After asphalt is separated at a refinery, we can modify it in a variety of ways, including “cutting back” (adding a cutting agent) to make it malleable enough for use. Or emulsifying or pulverizing to gain the right consistency.
Asphalt for paving goes through a mixing process to become either hot-mix asphalt, the most common type for flexibility and weather resistance; warm-mix asphalt, which is increasingly popular because it uses less fossil fuel; or cold-mix asphalt, which is ideal for winter pothole repair. Learn more about the asphalt manufacturing process.