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Difference between Bitumen and Tar

Difference between Bitumen and Tar

Most people use the terms bitumen and tar interchangeably, but they are actually two different things. Bitumen is a type of asphalt that is typically used in road construction, while tar is a black viscous liquid that is made up of hydrocarbons. Tar can be used for paving roads, waterproofing roofs, and making products like plastics and pesticides. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between bitumen and tar.

What is Bitumen?

  • Bitumen is a black, sticky substance that is found in many places around the world. It is most commonly found in tar pits, and it is also a component of asphalt.
  • Bitumen has a variety of uses, including waterproofing and sealing. It is also used to make roads and pavements. Bitumen is made up of a variety of hydrocarbons, and it is these hydrocarbons that give Bitumen its unique properties.
  • The hydrocarbons in Bitumen are long chains of molecules, and they are held together by strong bonds. This makes Bitumen very resistant to heat and cold. Bitumen is also insoluble in water, which means that it does not wash away easily. These properties make Bitumen an ideal material for use in a variety of applications.

What is Tar?

Tar is a black, sticky substance that is produced when coal is burned. It is used in road construction and to waterproof roofs. Tar can also be used as a preservative for wood. Tar was first used by the Ancient Egyptians to mummify bodies. Tar is now used in a variety of industries, including the production of asphalt, roofing shingles, and pipe coating. Tar can be harmful to human health if inhaled or ingested. Tar can also be damaging to the environment if it is not disposed of properly.

Difference between Bitumen and Tar

  • Bitumen and tar are both substances that are created during the distillation of crude oil. Bitumen is a thick, sticky substance that is often used in roofing and waterproofing applications.
  • Tar, on the other hand, is a thinner, more liquid form of bitumen that is typically used for pavement applications. The main difference between bitumen and tar is their respective consistency; bitumen is much thicker and more viscous than tar. As a result, bitumen requires special handling and application techniques.
  • When applied to roofs or walls, bitumen forms a thick, protective barrier that helps to prevent water damage. Tar, on the other hand, can be easily applied to pavements using a brush or roller. While tar does not provide the same level of protection as bitumen, it can still help to extend the life of the pavement by filling in cracks and gaps.


It is used for paving roads and as a sealant for roofs and other structures. Tar is also a type of petroleum, but it is made up of different compounds than bitumen. Tar has many uses, including in roofing, pavement sealants, wood preservatives, and more. Both bitumen and tar are hydrocarbons, meaning they are made up of hydrogen and carbon atoms. The main difference between these two substances comes down to their chemical composition.

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