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.