Asphalt is a tar-like substance that is used primarily on road construction. There are a little more than four million miles of roads in the United States, and almost three million of those miles are paved with asphalt. It makes travel much easier by providing a smooth surface for vehicles to ride on. Asphalt is often called bitumen and there is a natural version and a man-made version. Here are some interesting facts about the substance that makes travel much easier than it would be otherwise.
Of those nearly three million miles of paved roads, almost all of them are paved with asphalt. There are other things used like brick or cement, but asphalt has proven to be the best surface for roads. Federal transportation officials estimate that 94 percent of the roads paved in the United States, are paved with asphalt.
Asphalt for road paving has been around for a very long time. The first known paved road was the Champs-Elysees in Paris, which was paved in 1824. In the late 1800s roads started being paved in the United States and asphalt was often used.
The first roads were paved with concrete, but asphalt works better. Even though asphalt is very hard, it is a little flexible. Concrete is not flexible, so it cracks easily. Asphalt is a little more forgiving and the surface it is used on does not have to be perfect. Asphalt is also superior to concrete in that int can be reused.
More than 70 percent of the asphalt used in the United States is used for road paving. Parking lots and airport runways are also often paved with the substance. Roofing materials also use asphalt and that is the second biggest use. It can be used as a weather-proofing substance as well.
Asphalt is a liquid at high temperatures, though very thick. Asphalt is like tar and is used as a glue to hold small pieces of rock and sand together to make up what we use to pave roads.