Asphalt is the material that has helped to pave driveways, car parks, roads and motorways across the planet. But there is more to asphalt than just a highway covering material. It is used as a sealant in roofs and is a barrier in the protection of a number of items we were probably unaware of.
Edgar Hooley was the man who invented Tarmac, he stumbled across the idea in 1901 by accident after locals poured waste slag onto the tar that has been split.
Let us have a look at the seven uses for asphalt that we probably did not know about:
Few of us alive today will be old enough to remember when the Model T was running off the production line at such a rate that Ford could not keep up with the demand. More than 15.5 million cars ran off the production lines between 1908 and 1927 but the only colour available to the general public was in black.
The reason was simple: it kept production costs down and made the Model T easily affordable to the masses. The black paint used contained a mixture of bitumen and asphalt in a liquidised form. The black application contained a number of ingredients such as oil, thinning agents, dryers, varnish and asphalt.
The vast farming belt across Mid-West America used miles of wooden fencing to keep cattle in and rustlers out. Painting these fences was a labour-intensive task that could take a great deal of time and money away from the farm.
In order to increase the time interval between fence paintings, farmers would use an asphalt-based paint designed specifically to use on outdoor fencing. Asphalt based paints are more hardy than regular coats and there is the added advantage of the asphalt being highly waterproof too.
Drying time is also very quick. From application to posting the panels into the ground can take just three and a half hours. This allows farmers a chance to paint the fence and then install it. This method slows down the rate of decay and minimises water damage.
Vehicle Noise Pollution Reactant
Although all of our cars, motorbikes, trucks and vans drive regularly on asphalt, the dynamic material is also used to keep these vehicle at a low noise level. Car manufacturers use asphalt to coat the body parts. This makes vehicles sound quieter when driving on asphalt roads. At the same time, the noise levels of outside traffic is also reduced when you sit inside a car with all the windows closed up.
A number of abstract painters and artists use bitumen to manifest stunning black and white paintings. Most artists tend to go for nature or wildlife but the material used is very creative in artistic circles.
The bitumen has to be applied to the canvas using a special mixture of varnish and thinners in order for the asphalt painting to bind.
Graffiti is the evil twin of art. It signifies urban blight, tardiness and sheer vandalism. But asphalt can come to the rescue where the offensive “artwork” is concerned. If you coat an entire wall or fence with black asphalt paint, it will deter gang bangers from daubing their mess on facades where we do not want it to be seen.
Always keep a few aerosol cans of asphalt paint spray in your shed, then when the graffiti yobs return, just apply over the offending work and it will disappear. It is a quick and effective way of combating the so-called graffiti louts that infest many urban regions.
The Medicine for Nature
Arborists and plant nurseries will soon tell you of the damage bugs and insects can do to small shrubs, planting saplings and other woodland trees. However, liquid asphalt comes to the rescue in ways you would not have thought possible.
Gardeners often use a paste version of this asphalt liquid to smear over the wounds on small saplings and young trees. The asphalt seals the wound and prevents the tree from further infection.
There are a number of reasons where gardeners might use asphalt to treat tree wounds. After all, it is not just bugs and insects that do damage to saplings and smaller trees. Storm, disease and weather-related damage is often a problem for trees. Grafting fresh and new roots to trees can also be achieved by using asphalt as a sealant.
Used in the Construction Industry
There are many asphalt products used in construction and building and its uses are vast. Some builders will use it as a waterproof agent for foundations. It helps to damp proof and is a reliable waterproof material. Water or vapour cannot enter the spaces below the grades as the asphalt works as a dynamic barrier.
Compounds containing asphalt are also used instead of tarpaper. This is usually applied under the wood panelling or a brick veneer. Builders will also use asphalt or asphalt-based products for flashing on doors, windows and roofs.