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In Australia, when we talk about bitumen and asphalt, we tend to use the words interchangeably. Typically, we think of our road surfaces as being ‘bitumen’. But in fact, bitumen is used to make asphalt – the substance commonly used in the construction of road surfaces.
Bitumen is a black viscous mixture of hydrocarbons, obtained naturally or as the residue from the refinement of crude oil. Once melted down into a sticky substance, it can be combined and mixed with crushed rock to make asphalt.
While we’re talking about the terms of our trade, once the asphalt is laid, it’s referred to as a ‘pavement.’