EPiC database - Asphalt

This material is part of the free Environmental Performance in Construction (EPiC) Database. The EPiC Database contains embodied environmental flow coefficients for 250+ construction materials using a comprehensive hybrid life cycle inventory approach.

Asphalt is made by combining bitumen and aggregates. It is also commonly known as asphaltic concrete or bituminous concrete. Bitumen is a petroleum-based product made by extracting components of crude oil. Crude bitumen obtained from oil sands can also be used, which is a naturally occurring bitumen. Bitumen is used as a binder and generally represents around 5% of the asphalt mix.

Typical aggregates used are crushed rock, sand or gravel and these make up approximately 95% of the volume of asphalt. The maximum aggregate size is generally 10 mm. Polymers and other additives are often added to control the properties of asphalt. Due to its high viscosity, asphalt is heated prior to being mixed with the aggregate materials.

Asphalt is used mainly as a road construction material, but also commonly used for path and carpark surfacing as well as waterproofing of roofs.