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What is Asphalt?

Most people can recognize asphalt by its distinctive black coloring. It is commonly seen in parking lots, airport runways, railway tracks, bicycle lanes, sidewalks, and roads. It is also seen in play areas and sports arenas. But what exactly is asphalt? And what gives it its distinctive black coloring?

Black Bear Paving & Grading is an asphalt company located in beautiful San Jose. We offer asphalt services ranging from asphalt repair to asphalt paving. Below, we'll explain what exactly is asphalt. Contact us today for your asphalt estimate!


Asphalt, also known as blacktop or bitumen, is a mixture of materials and aggregates. The aggregates include crushed rock, sand, or gravel. In an effort to reduce our carbon footprint, recycled construction and demolition debris is also being ground up to form the aggregates. Aggregates make up about 95% of asphalt. Bitumen makes up the other 5%. Bitumen is the binding material that holds the aggregates together. It also is what gives asphalt its color as bitumen is made from petroleum.

Asphalt is sticky and a liquid form of petroleum. Asphalt itself occurs naturally or it can be refined. There are huge deposits of asphalt located all around the world, the largest known deposit lies in Trinidad.


You will mostly see asphalt in road construction because it is durable and can handle the weight of vehicles. Asphalt is spread and rolled on highways, interstates, and smaller roads. Warm mix is used in highways as well. In fact, more than 85% of the roads in the modern world are made from asphalt or an asphalt/concrete mixture. America alone has over 4,000 asphalt plants.

Asphalt is also used for other construction purposes, including in buildings and for waterproofing. In fact, it is a common material used for flat roofs and underground storage tanks since the tanks will then be waterproof. Asphalt can be used to make lacquer, which is applied to steel and iron beams and used as a type of paint.

Surprisingly, you can find asphalt in electrical uses as well, such as in batteries and for telephone poles. As mentioned previously, asphalt can be mixed with cement as well to make asphalt concrete, which is durable and flexible. Asphalt is affordable and an environmentally-friendly product since it is easy to recycle it.

Since asphalt is waterproof, you will find it used in a lot of construction projects around water, such as for flood control, to create seawall dikes, used as a reservoir liner, used to store water, and used for erosion control. Asphalt technology is continually improving, meaning its uses will only continue to grow.


Black Bear Asphalt Paving & Grading offers the best asphalt services in San Jose. From sealcoating and asphalt paving overlay to asphalt patching and replacement, we can help you with all of your asphalt needs. With over 25 years of experience, we have what it takes to get your asphalt job done right. Reach out to our asphalt paving team today!

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