What is emulsion in road construction?

Road emulsions are liquids made up of three components: water, bitumen and emulsion. Also known as bitumen emulsions, the materials are mostly used in the construction, maintenance and repair of roads, pavements and highways, where they can be applied by hand or via a spray tanker.

What are the characteristics of bitumen road emulsions?

Road emulsions have become increasingly popular for the above applications due to their many advantages over a pure bitumen application. 

The first and largest advantage of road emulsions is that they do not need to be heated to the same levels as bitumen alone – negating the need for an  oven. Furthermore, the ‘paint’ like nature of the product means it is easily spread over an entire surface in a more uniform way in comparison to pure bitumen.

Likewise, because this emulsion is much thinner than traditional bitumen applications, it can be used for road markings, such as warning signs, without making the road surface unusable or impacting skin resistance.  

Road emulsions are also a popular choice because they can be used in low temperatures and humid conditions – conditions which are quite common in the United Kingdom. For these reasons, they are often used in road patching, restoration works and as a surface treatment to roads during preventative maintenance.

What are the uses of emulsion in road construction?

Road emulsion in road construction, repair and maintenance can be used for:

  • Mist spraying
  • Patching
  • Velocity Patching
  • Re-treading
  • Surface dressing
  • Micro asphalt Surfacing
  • Grouting
  • Concrete Curing

What are the advantages of road emulsions?

There are 4 clear advantages of using road emulsions for the applications listed above.

  1. The way it is made means that the high viscosity of bitumen is kept in a form that can be used at low temperatures.
  2. The low temperature of storage means that the thermal degradation of the binder is minimised, as well as hazards from fuming.
  3. It offers an ‘all-in-one’ solution with superior wetting and adhesion properties – meaning that it can be used for permanent waterproofing.
  4. The low temperature of storage and application means that energy use is minimised, and risk of fire is much reduced.

Surface Dressing & Road Emulsions from BituChem

At BituChem, we offer a comprehensive range of polymer modified surface dressings which are HAPAS approved for use with our key partners. These are:

  • SuperCoat
  • FortCoat
  • PolBit
  • FortSeal

We also offer an aesthetically pleasing surface dressing emulsion called LockChip which can be used to seal down newly dressed highways. This emulsion creates a good looking, waterproof and durable finish and is suitable for use in patching, repairs and preventative maintenance.

As highway bond coat specialists, we are also able to produce a range of bespoke polymer modified bituminous emulsions including PolyBond and BituTack, a cationic emulsion available as a conventional tack coat and as a higher grade emulsion for traditional ‘tar spray and chip’ projects.

Contact BiuChem Today

To learn more about any of our products, please contact our team today. Our road emulsions are effective with many different types of aggregate and we are ISO9001, 14001 and 18001 certified, so you can be sure our highway emulsions meet the high standards required for the rigours of the modern road network.