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 Tarmac is known to be one of the world’s most popular paving materials. This is due to its many advantages which include versatility, cost effectiveness, sustainability and much more. Let’s have a look at the fascinating world of tarmac and why it is one of the most popular paving materials around.

The history of tarmac:

The initial first story of tarmac dates back to the beginning of the 20th century when a gentleman named Edgar Purnell Hooley who was a British engineer invented it. He has found a tar covered area which he noted had been mixed with waste to create a smooth surface. He names this and patented the concoction as tarmacadam which later on was used for road construction through another engineer John Loudon Mcadam. 

Tarmacadam was started to be used as a road surface which was smooth, low maintenance and very durable. The use of tarmacadam quickly grew being used in car parks, driveways, sports venues and airport runways.  

Tarmac has continued to evolve with a wide range of asphalt and additives, binders and aggregates ensuring tarmac can be accustomed to suit almost any need that should arise. 

With the continuing developments and improvements in tarmac it is now one of the most used materials in infrastructure for the most durable and efficient paving structure of choice.

What is tarmac made from?

Tarmac is made from three main components which are binder, filler and aggregate. These are combined to make the overall finished product which is tarmac. 

The main component of tarmac is aggregate and this forms the bulk of the product. Aggregate is what provides tarmac with its strength. Aggregate is formed from gravel, sand or crushed stone. The aggregate used depends on what the tarmac is being used for larger aggregates are more suited to heavy duty surfaces such as runways and motorways and smaller aggregates are used and more suited to smaller applications such as driveways. 

The binder is the ingredient which holds the aggregate together Bitumer is the most commonly used binder. It is available in various grades dependant on the use of the tarmac. 

Filler is what fills the gap between the binder and the aggregate. Fillers used can include cement, or limestone mineral particles. 

The advantages of tarmac;

Tarmac has a number of advantages when used in infrastructure here are just a few;

  • Cost effective – When compared to other materials that are used for paving tarmac comes off top as being one of the most economical.
  • Durable – Tarmac is extremely durable and will withstand the toughest of conditions. It is one of the most robust materials and can with stand heavy loads and extreme weather conditions. 
  • Versatile – Tarmac is versatile and can be used for many different projects including driveways, runways, car parks. It is easily adapted to suit various requirements. 
  • Safety – Tarmac is one of the safest materials for surfacing as it is skid resistant which helps to minimise accidents. It is dark so road markings show up well. It is also very good at draining water so the flood risk is reduced when using tarmac. 

Overall we think tarmac is pretty amazing when it comes to infrastructure materials. If you have a tarmacking requirement or have any questions at all contact our experts today and we will be more than happy to help.