Effect of Temperature and Process on Quantity and Composition of Laboratory-Generated Bitumen Emissions

In this study, the authors investigated the impact of temperature on emissions as related to various bitumen applications and processes used in commercial products. Bitumen emissions are very complex and can be influenced in quantity and composition by differences in crude source, refining processes, application temperature, and work practices. This study provided a controlled laboratory environment to study five bitumen test materials from three European refineries; three paving grade, one used for primarily roofing and some paving applications, and one oxidised industrial specialty bitumen. Emissions were generated at temperatures between 140°C – 230°C based on typical application temperatures of each product. Emissions were characterised by aerodynamic particle size, total organic matter (TOM), simulated distillation, 40 individual PACs, and fluorescence (FL-PACs) spectroscopy. Results showed that composition of bitumen emissions is influenced by temperature under studied experimental conditions. A distinction between the oxidised bitumen with flux oil (industrial specialty bitumen) and the remaining bitumens was observed. Under typical temperatures used for paving (150°C-170°C), the TOM and PAC concentrations in the emissions were low. However, bitumen with flux oil produced significantly higher emissions at 230°C, laden with high levels of PACs. Flux oil in this bitumen mixture enhanced release of higher boiling-ranged compounds during application conditions. At 200°C and below, concentrations of 4-6 ring PACs were <6.51 µg/m(3) for all test materials, even when flux oil was used. The authors concluded that trends learned about emission temperature-process relationships from this study can be used to guide industry decisions to reduce worker exposure during processing and application of hot bitumen. Authors: Bolliet C, Kriech AJ, Juery C, Vaissiere M, Brinton MA, Osborn LV. ;Full Source: Journal of Occupational & Environmental Hygiene. 2015 Feb 3:0. [Epub ahead of print] ;