Research and Development
Every year, the bitumen industry invests substantial amounts in research and development, as scientists and technicians work to discover new applications for refined bitumens, particularly for polymer modified bitumens. Research is done to improve safety and environmental standards to protect workers in the industry and new test methods are developed to characterise the product we use every day.
The demand for better road surfaces is rising and new types of asphalt mixtures are increasing the demand for modified bituminous binders, with superior properties. Paving grade bitumens are specified in EN 12591. The characteristics in EN 12591 relate to the performance of these binders in asphalt mixtures and the relationship between each property measured and asphalt performance is well understood. This standard uses traditional test methods that have been around for decades.
Polymer modified bitumens or hard paving grade bitumens, on the other hand, can be categorized as rheologically complex binders. For these binders more complex test methods are required and so the topic of complex binders is at the heart of the ongoing discussion about the next stage of European standards. Eurobitume has prepared a position paper on this topic, systematically collecting for this purpose around 60,000 data points from 146 different bituminous binders.