Difference Between Bitumen And Tar

Comparisons, Knowledgebase

Last Updated on November 25, 2022 by mdmtool

Bitumen and Tar are often confused, as they are both black, sticky substances used in roofing. However, there are some differences between the two.

Bitumen is a natural product that is extracted from the ground. On the other hand, Tar is an artificial product created by heating coal.

So, while Bitumen and Tar may look similar, they are pretty different. Bitumen is a natural product that is more durable and effective than Tar.

What Is Bitumen?


Bitumen is a dark, sticky substance used for roads, roofing, and waterproofing. It is made from a mixture of crude oil and other chemicals .

What Is Tar?


Tar is a black, viscous liquid that is produced during the process of making coal

Difference Between Bitumen And Tar

Composition: Bitumen is composed of hydrocarbons, while Tar is composed of carbon and hydrogen.

Appearance: Bitumen is a dark, sticky substance, while Tar is a black, viscous liquid.

Chemical Composition: Bitumen is made from a mixture of crude oil and other chemicals, while Tar is produced from coal.

Exists In: Bitumen exists in a solid, liquid, or semi-solid form, while Tar exists only in a liquid state.

Nature: Bitumen is non-renewable, while Tar is renewable.

Carbon Content: Bitumen has a higher carbon content than Tar.

Setting Time: Bitumen has a longer setting time than Tar.

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Adhesive Power: Bitumen has a more substantial adhesive power than Tar.

Color: Tar is black, while Bitumen can be either black or brown.

What is bitumen

Molecular Weight Range: The molecular weight range of Bitumen is 400-5000, while Tar’s is 30-300.

Viscosity: The viscosity of Bitumen is low, while that of Tar is higher. The thickness of Bitumen is more than 10000 centipoises, while Tar’s is 10,000-1,000,000 centipoises.

Flashpoint: The flash point of Bitumen is 430°F (222°C), while that of Tar is 392°F (200°C).

Insulator: Bitumen is also a better insulator than Tar, making it more effective in keeping the heat in. Tar is not as good at insulating, so it can let heat escape.

Weather Resistance: The resistance of Bitumen to weather is low, but Tar is fair to good.

Toxicity: Tar is more toxic than Bitumen. Tar can release harmful chemicals into the air, while Bitumen does not.

Flammability: Bitumen is more flammable than Tar.

Eco-Friendliness: Bitumen is less eco-friendly than Tar.

Degradation: Bitumen is more difficult to degrade than Tar.

Durability: Bitumen is more durable than Tar.

Ease Of Application: Tar is more accessible to apply than Bitumen.

Disposal: Bitumen can be disposed of by incineration, while Tar can be disposed of by landfill.

Temperature Susceptibility: Bitumen is less temperature susceptible than Tar.

Odor: Bitumen has a petroleum-like odor, and Tar has a coal-like odor.

Reacts With: Tar reacts with acids, while Bitumen does not.

Evaporation Rate: The evaporation rate of Tar is higher than that of Bitumen.

Water Absorption: Bitumen absorbs less water than Tar.

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Specific Gravity: The particular gravity of Bitumen is generally between 0.9 and 1.02, while Tar’s is usually lower, at around 0.8 to 1.

Softening Point: The softening point of a substance is the temperature at which it begins to soften and lose its rigid shape. The softening point of Bitumen is generally between 40 and 90 degrees Celsius, while that of Tar is lower, at around 30 to 50 degrees Celsius.

Safety: Bitumen is safer to handle than Tar.

Storage: Bitumen should be stored in a cool, dry place, while Tar can be stored at room temperature.

Environmental Impact: Bitumen produces more greenhouse gas emissions than Tar.

Bitumen is a non-renewable resource, while Tar is renewable.

Cost: Tar is cheaper than Bitumen.

Uses: Bitumen is used for road construction and roofing, while Tar is used in these applications.



What Are The Different Types Of Bitumen?

Bitumen is classified into two types: natural and synthetic. Natural Bitumen is produced from the distillation of crude oil, while synthetic Bitumen is made from the polymerization of various petroleum products.

What Is Asphalt Made Of?

Asphalt is made up of a mixture of Bitumen and aggregate. The ratio of these two ingredients varies depending on the desired properties of the final product.

What Are Bituminous Roads?

Bituminous roads have been constructed with bituminous material, such as asphalt or Tar.

What Are Forms Of Tar?

Tar can be found in several forms: liquid, solid, and semi-solid.


In conclusion, Bitumen and Tar are substances that have various uses. However, there are several key differences between these two materials. They also have some similarities. When choosing between these two materials, it is important to consider the purpose for which you will be using the product.

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