Bitumen emulsion were first tried as a road construction material in the beginning of the 20th century. Originally, the use of emulsion was limited due to low experience and knowledge in the area of emulsion formation, mixing and the technology of emulsion production and application. With time, the use of emulsion grew steadily from the 1920s to 1950s.
It was in the mid 1950s when the rapid increase of traffic load made the emulsions inadequate for the task. The interest in emulsions fell, however, bitumen emulsion continued to be used for some purposes.
At that period, hot asphalt mix was mostly prepared with bitumen binder. In road construction emulsion were used mostly for ground reinforcement or on secondary roads.
A new hope for the emulsion came in the beginning of the 1970s, when the energy crisis hit Western Europe and the US. Import of oil became a serious problem, especially so for the US.
At this time the manufacturers of road construction materials remembered about bitumen emulsions, which, as before, required no petroleum based solvents or additional heating for the mineral material. The advantages of bitumen emulsion in comparison with thinned bitumen in terms of the ecology were also obvious.
This caused significant extension of the use of the emulsions. Emulsion preparation and application methods saw rapid development, quality requirements became higher, test methods were developed. Emulsion production systems keep improving all the time. One of the latest and most efficient solutions is the UVB-1 type unit made by GlobeCore. Beside other advantages of the emulsion, (economic, environmental and performance), it became possible to use the emulsion almost all year long from spring to autumn in temperature above +5 ºС.
To efficiently used bitumen emulsion and emulsion based materials, it is important to know how the emulsion interacts with materials of a different origin, how it behaves in different conditions and then formulate the composition of the emulsion with the consideration of all factors.
Application of bitumen emulsions increases performance of roads, their durability and offers an efficient and inexpensive road maintenance solution.