Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 40, Issue 8, pp 1893–1900 | Cite as

Wax morphology in bitumen

  • Xiaohu Lu
  • M. Langton
  • P. Olofsson
  • P. Redelius


Wax crystallisation and melting in bitumen is usually considered detrimental to bitumen quality and asphalt performance. The objectives of this paper are to study wax morphology in bitumen and to investigate effects of time, temperature, and thermal cycling on wax crystallisation. Various samples were selected, including eight waxy bitumens of different sources and three laboratory blends prepared by adding a slack wax and two isolated bitumen waxes to the non-waxy bitumen. Test methods used were differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), polarised light microscopy (PLM), confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM), and freeze etching (fracture) in combination with transmission electron microscopy (FF-TEM). The DSC results indicated that the selected bitumen samples differ widely in wax content and wax crystallisation starting and melting out temperatures. It was found that non-waxy bitumen displayed no structure or crystals neither in PLM, CLSM or FF-TEM, while waxy bitumens from different crude origins showed a large variation of structures. The morphology of wax crystals was highly dependent on crystallisation temperature as well as temperature history. The wax which has been isolated from waxy bitumen and mixed into non-waxy bitumen displayed similar morphology as the wax in the original bitumen. It was also found that bitumen wax usually melted at temperatures lower than 60°C although in one case a temperature of 80°C was needed until complete melting of the wax.


Differential Scanning Calorimetry Asphalt Bitumen Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy Crystallisation Temperature 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiaohu Lu
    • 1
  • M. Langton
    • 2
  • P. Olofsson
    • 2
  • P. Redelius
    • 1
  1. 1.Nynas BitumenNynäshamnSweden
  2. 2.The Swedish Institute for Food and BiotechnologyGöteborgSweden

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