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What is it –  «SynAsphalt» (synthetic gilsonite)?

Gilsonite («SynAsphalt») is first product, which was made specially for Road Industry for improving  Road pavement. Our product is an asphalt, as an alternative Polymer bituminous binders for Road Industry.

In 2015 our company developed a unique technology of producing “SynAsphalt” which is a concentrate of polar polycyclic aromatic resins and asphaltenes demonstrating its modifying efficiency similarly to its natural analogues in mixtures with bitumen. According to the world practice of road bitumen application, greater stability of the colloidal structure of bitumen results in higher stress-strain performance of the binder and asphalt concrete. The application of asphaltites allows to adjust the group composition of bitumen and increase its colloidal stability

A very important advantage of SynAsphalt over foreign natural asphaltites is a lower softening temperature adjusted during production (90-115 °С depending on the brand), which allows to batch the material directly in the Automated Control System (ACS). SynAsphalt will be produced in the form of powder with particle size up to 10 mm. Asphaltite brands with low softening temperature intended to prevent sticking will contain up to 5 % of anti-adherent (mineral powder). Two production batches with the total weight of 60 tons were produced in 2016.

Raw material resources available in the Russian Federation allow to establish industrial production of Synthetic Asphalt amounting to 30,000 tons per year within a short period of time (about 1 year) with minimum investments.


An addition of only 4 % of SynAsphalt provides a 1,5-1,9-fold increase of dynamic viscosity at 60 °С, and an increase of thermal oxidation stability, adhesion and cohesion without deterioration of low-temperature properties. The results of quality comparison of bitumen from Moscow oil refinery and bitumen modified by 4 % of SynAsphalt are given in Table 1.

Considering that bitumen modified with SynAsphalt demonstrates higher resistance to thermal-oxidative aging and increased dynamic viscosity, adhesion and cohesion, it is safe to say that the use of such binder will result in a higher resistance of asphalt concrete to plastic deformation and evacuation of mineral material under the action of studded tires which will also provide an increase of the durability of asphalt concrete

 Table 1 – Bitumen with SynAsphalt survey results

Parameter Construction bitumen 60/90 Construction bitumen 60/90 + 4 % of SynAsphalt
Needle penetration depth, 0.1 mm, at 25°С 70 61
Ductility, cm, at 25°С ≥100 ≥100
Ring-and-ball softening point, °С, 49.5 56.1
Fraas brittle point, °С -16 -16
Dynamic viscosity at 60 °С, Pa/s 160.7 368.8
Tension load at 25°С, N 1.730 2.950
Softening point variation, °С, 5.4 2.2
Ductility at 25 °С, cm 41 66
Needle penetration depth at 25 °С after heating, % of the initial value 61 88
Dynamic viscosity at 6 °С, Pa⋅s, after heating 489.3 766.4
Tension load at 25°С, N, after heating, 5.563 5.012
Hardening factor (the ratio between the values of dynamic viscosity after and before aging) 2.9 2.4

According to the experience of various countries in the field of using asphalts and asphaltites in road construction such asphalt-concrete coatings feature very high performance characteristics. They are water-resistant, inert to temperature variations and oxygen “aging”, demonstrate high rutting resistance and minimum fatigue properties upon application of dynamic and static loads on the roadway. All this has a positive effect on the durability of road surfaces. It is commonly known that the primary means of transportation in Germany is motor vehicles. The use of Trinidad asphalt in road construction has been widely spread in this country since 1960s. (one of the founders of the Trinidad asphalt production company was a German entrepreneur Carl Ungewitter whose enterprise has been very influential in Trinidad until the present day). The application of Trinidad asphalt allows to increase the service life of asphalt-concrete surfaces to over 20 years. Hybrid compositions consisting of base bitumen, natural bitumen (such as Trinidad Asphalt or Gilsonite) and styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS) polymers are used as binders for major highways and aerodrome surfaces.

In terms of composition, SynAsphalt is a complex multi-component artificially balanced mixture of organic compounds, which is manufactured according to process regulations as approved as per the established procedure.Application of SynAsphalt allows the following:

  • Improving the rheological properties of petroleum bitumen;
  • Improving the adhesion of petroleum bitumen with mineral materials;
  • Enhancing the thermo-oxidative stability of the oil bitumen

Among the organic minerals used in a number of branches of foreign industry and in road construction, a special place is occupied by asphaltites, i.e. natural gums, formed by the weathering of oil-containing rocks. Asphaltites in the form of commercial products are used in the manufacture of varnishes and paints, electrical insulating materials, as additives that increase the efficiency and durability of pavements (asphalt-concrete), compositions for the lubrication of molds in metallurgy, and in preparation of drilling fluids. This is not a  complete list of applications for asphaltites. The latter of them (well drilling) deserves special attention.Large asphaltite deposits are available in the USA, Venezuela, Mexico, Iran, Trinidad, and Cuba. In Russia we also have several explored asphaltite fields with commercial reserves. Those are the Izhemskoye deposit in the Komi Republic and the Ivanovskoye field in the Orenburg region. The world’s largest manufacturer of asphaltites is the American Gilsonite Company (USA). The asphaltites (‘utahnites’) of several varieties as extracted  from the field in Utah and issued in the form of merchantable goods bear the registered trademark “Gilsonite.” Mining companies in the US and other countries have, in recent years,  increased the volume of extraction of natural asphaltites and production of merchantable goods from them. Thus, in its report for the year 2011, American Gilsonite Company states an unprecedented growth of production and sales due to record demand (the company’s website is accessible at: http://www.americangilsonite.com/) for 2011.This is due to the fact that, over the past 5 years, oil and gas wells drilling industry has become a leader in consumption of the “Gilsonites”. The situation is brought about by their wide application as a component of drilling fluids for directional and horizontal wells. This is largely due to large-scale projects in the US for recovery of shale gas, as well as to the need to improve the design technical and economic performance of oil wells. As a result of the increased demand for “Gilsonite”, prices for consumers have significantly grown.At the same time in Russia, according to available sources, neither Gilsonite nor any other natural asphaltite is now used anywhere. The explanation, of course, is the fact that in Russia, for certain reasons, both economic and technical,  natural asphaltites, despite the presence of deposits, are not extracted. Development of the Izhemsky asphalite mines was stopped half a century ago because of their extreme unprofitability. Development of the Orenburg asphaltites involves their further use as a source of a strategic metal (vanadium), which is present in them in industrial quantities. But this is possible only provided that thermo-destructive processes involving obtainment of ash are used. Asphaltite will not be recovered as a merchantable product, i.e. with its power-carrying/metallurgic performance. Only the products of processing, electricity, and ash containing vanadium oxide compounds will be obtained. However, nobody is dealing with such processes now. It is difficult and expensive.As a result,  Russia is away from the global trend in terms of use of the asphaltites. WE do not extract our own asphaltites; nor buy foreign ones, due to high cost and lack of development of technologies for their industrial application. However, in recent years, experimental work has become active for use of natural asphaltites as modifying additives to oil bitumens for the preparation of asphalt concretes,  where a very good technical effect is obvious. However, the wide spreading of such technologies is constrained by the relatively high cost of foreign asphaltites.However, things are not so bad. A unique technology for the production of SynAsphalt has been developed in Russia (under the working name of “Synthetic Gilsonite”). It can serve as a complete substitute for their natural equivalents. The price of such product is much less than that of foreign “Gilsonite”.Our company BPN INTERNATIONAL suggests using SynAsphalt in the same areas, industries and technologies, where the American natural asphaltites (i.e. Gilsoites) are widely used. Below please find information on the use of SynAsphalt in the following industries:   

                                Road industry                                                                                                                    Industrial

Application of Gilsonite in Roae Industry1                           Application Gilsonite in Industrial                                     

                                        Paints                                                                                                                                   Oilfield  

 Application of Gilsonite in Paints                            Application Gilsonite in Oilfield




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