Bitumen, also known as asphalt in the United States, is a substance that forms through the distillation of crude oil. It has waterproofing and adhesive properties. Bitumen production through distillation removes lighter crude oil components, such as gasoline and diesel, leaving the “heavier” bitumen behind. The producer often refines it several times to improve its grade.
Bitumen is generally for industry use. Bitumen was first used for its natural adhesive and waterproofing characteristics, but it was also used as a medicine. It was used to bind building materials together, as well as to line the bottoms of ships. Ancient civilizations traded the material.