3 Things to Know About Asphalt

The world all around you is full of everyday materials that you may not pay much attention to, but wouldn’t live life as you know it without them. Not much is paid attention to lowly paving materials but look all around you, there is one material that makes up roads, driveways, parking decks, and is even found at the La Brea tar pits of Southern California, asphalt. The good ol’ blacktop makes up a large portion of everyday infrastructure but you likely don’t know about anything about it except that is smells when it’s being poured. There’s a lot more to asphalt than meets the eye.

3 Facts You Should Know About Asphalt

Asphalt is nearly 100% Recyclable

According to a survey by the National Asphalt Pavement Association, asphalt is the most widely recycled product in the United States. When you think of something that is petroleum based, environmentally friendly does not typically come to mind. However the asphalt industry recycles an estimated 99% of total asphalt, making it one of the greenest building and pavement materials on the market.

Asphalt is Made of Dinosaurs

That statement may be a bit of hyperbole, but asphalt is a semi-solid form of petroleum. Petroleum is a fossil fuel and fossil fuels are simply organic matter including plants and animals that has been put under heat and pressure for millions of years, leaving us with a concentrated source of energy. So the next time you drive down an asphalt road, you are driving over ancient creatures that are now your gateway to the local convenience store.

Asphalt Has Been Used Much Longer than you May Think

Asphalt has come into its own over the past few decades but its use is much older than that. The first recorded use of asphalt in paving was on the iconic Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris, France in 1824, but its uses go much farther back than that. The earliest documented use of asphalts was by the ancient Egyptians for mummification practices.

It goes to show that even the most unassuming of building materials can have a story all their own. So the next time you are cruising smoothly down an asphalt road, take some time to recognize the importance and uniqueness of asphalt.

Special thanks to Denver Asphalt for putting together these interesting facts.

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