Definition of Bitumen

What Is Bitumen?

A bubble forming in bitumen at the La Brea tar pits in Los Angeles, California.
A bubble forming in bitumen at the La Brea tar pits in Los Angeles, California.

Bitumen Definition: Bitumen is a naturally occurring mixture of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. The mixture takes the form of a viscous, black, sticky tar-like substance. It can be refined from crude oil by fractional distillation.

Examples: Asphalt is a mixture of an aggregate and bitumen and is commonly used as a road surface. Bitumen is also what makes up the La Brea Tar Pits.

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Helmenstine, Todd. "Definition of Bitumen." ThoughtCo, Feb. 7, 2017, thoughtco.com/definition-of-bitumen-608746. Helmenstine, Todd. (2017, February 7). Definition of Bitumen. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/definition-of-bitumen-608746 Helmenstine, Todd. "Definition of Bitumen." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/definition-of-bitumen-608746 (accessed January 19, 2018).