Difference Wiki

Coal Tar vs. Bitumen: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sumera Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Published on December 27, 2023
Coal tar is a byproduct of coal processing, used in medicinal and industrial applications, while bitumen, a petroleum product, is primarily used for road construction and waterproofing.

Key Differences

Coal tar is a thick, black liquid produced during the process of converting coal into coke or coal gas. It has a strong smell and is used in various industrial and medical applications. Bitumen, also a viscous black substance, is derived from crude oil during the refining process and is mainly used for road construction and as a waterproofing agent.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 27, 2023
Coal tar contains a mixture of various phenols, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and heterocyclic compounds. It is known for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, making it useful in treating skin conditions. In contrast, bitumen is a mixture of hydrocarbons and is used primarily for its adhesive and waterproofing properties in construction and paving.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 27, 2023
Coal tar is less viscous than bitumen and has a lower melting point, which makes it more fluid at room temperature. It is often used in tar-based roofing materials and as a sealant. Bitumen, with its higher viscosity, is ideal for road surfaces as it forms a durable and weather-resistant layer when mixed with aggregate.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 27, 2023
Environmental and health concerns are more pronounced with coal tar, due to its carcinogenic compounds. Its use is regulated in many countries. Bitumen, though also containing some harmful compounds, is generally considered less hazardous and is widely used in public infrastructure projects.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 27, 2023
In terms of production, coal tar is a byproduct of the steel industry, where coal is coked to produce steel. Bitumen, on the other hand, is a primary product of the petroleum industry, obtained from the distillation of crude oil.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 27, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Source

Byproduct of coal processing
Derived from crude oil
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 27, 2023

Main Uses

Medicinal, industrial sealants
Road construction, waterproofing
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 27, 2023

Viscosity

Lower, more fluid at room temp
Higher, more solid at room temp
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 27, 2023

Health Concerns

Contains carcinogenic compounds
Less hazardous, though contains hydrocarbons
Aimie Carlson
Dec 27, 2023

Industry

Steel industry byproduct
Petroleum industry product
Janet White
Dec 27, 2023
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Coal Tar and Bitumen Definitions

Coal Tar

A byproduct of coal processing, used in industrial applications.
Coal tar is used in the production of roofing materials.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2023

Bitumen

A primary product of the petroleum industry.
Refineries produce bitumen during crude oil processing.
Harlon Moss
Dec 01, 2023

Coal Tar

A medicinal substance for treating skin diseases.
Coal tar shampoo helps in treating scalp psoriasis.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2023

Bitumen

A waterproofing material in roofing and construction.
Bitumen is used in waterproofing flat roofs.
Harlon Moss
Dec 01, 2023

Coal Tar

A component in anti-dandruff and eczema treatments.
Coal tar creams are effective for eczema relief.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 01, 2023

Bitumen

A material for sealing and insulating purposes.
Bitumen sealants are used in building foundations.
Harlon Moss
Dec 01, 2023

Coal Tar

A base material in manufacturing dyes and plastics.
Many synthetic dyes are derived from coal tar.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2023

Bitumen

A binding agent in road construction.
Bitumen is mixed with aggregate to pave roads.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Coal Tar

A sealant in industrial and construction applications.
Coal tar is used to seal driveways and pavements.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2023

Bitumen

A substance used in making asphalt.
Bitumen is a key component in asphalt for highways.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2023

Bitumen

Any of various flammable mixtures of relatively nonvolatile hydrocarbons that occur naturally or are obtained by fractional distillation of petroleum. Bitumens are used for paving, roofing, and waterproofing. Also called asphalt.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 30, 2023

Bitumen

A sticky, black, highly viscous liquid or semi-solid form of petroleum, burning with a bright flame. It occurs as an abundant natural product in many places, as on the shores of the Dead and Caspian Seas. It is used in cements, in the construction of pavements, etc.; Mineral pitch.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 30, 2023

Bitumen

(by extension) Any one of the natural hydrocarbons, including the hard, solid, brittle varieties called asphalt, the semisolid maltha and mineral tars, the oily petrolea, and even the light, volatile naphthas.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 30, 2023

Bitumen

Roads sealed with bitumen, as opposed to dirt roads.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 30, 2023

Bitumen

(Canada) Canadian deposits of extremely heavy crude oil.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 30, 2023

Bitumen

To cover or fill with bitumen.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 30, 2023

Bitumen

Mineral pitch; a black, tarry substance, burning with a bright flame; Jew's pitch. It occurs as an abundant natural product in many places, as on the shores of the Dead and Caspian Seas. It is used in cements, in the construction of pavements, etc. See Asphalt.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 30, 2023

Bitumen

By extension, any one of the natural hydrocarbons, including the hard, solid, brittle varieties called asphalt, the semisolid maltha and mineral tars, the oily petroleums, and even the light, volatile naphthas.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 30, 2023

Bitumen

Any of various naturally occurring impure mixtures of hydrocarbons
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 30, 2023

FAQs

Is coal tar a natural product?

It's a byproduct of processing coal.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 27, 2023

How is bitumen obtained?

From the distillation of crude oil.
Harlon Moss
Dec 27, 2023

Where is bitumen predominantly used?

In road construction and waterproofing.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 27, 2023

Can coal tar be used in roofing?

Yes, especially in tar-based roofing materials.
Janet White
Dec 27, 2023

Is bitumen a carcinogen?

It contains hydrocarbons, but is generally less carcinogenic than coal tar.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 27, 2023

What is coal tar primarily used for?

Industrial applications and skin treatment products.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 27, 2023

Are there medicinal uses for bitumen?

Not typically; it's mainly used in construction.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 27, 2023

What makes bitumen ideal for roads?

Its high viscosity and durability.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 27, 2023

Can coal tar be used in road construction?

It's less common due to its lower viscosity.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 27, 2023

Is bitumen environmentally friendly?

It has environmental impacts, but is less hazardous than coal tar.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 27, 2023

Can bitumen be used as a sealant?

Yes, it's used in construction for sealing.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 27, 2023

Are there regulations on coal tar usage?

Yes, due to its carcinogenic properties.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 27, 2023

Is coal tar used in dyes?

Yes, it's a base material for many synthetic dyes.
Janet White
Dec 27, 2023

Can coal tar be used in asphalt?

It's not commonly used for asphalt.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 27, 2023

Are both coal tar and bitumen black?

Yes, both are typically black and viscous.
Janet White
Dec 27, 2023

Is bitumen used in the petroleum industry?

Yes, as a primary product.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 27, 2023

Is bitumen safe for skin application?

No, it's not meant for medicinal use.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 27, 2023

Does bitumen have a strong smell?

Yes, it has a distinct petroleum smell.
Janet White
Dec 27, 2023

What industries produce coal tar?

The steel and coal processing industries.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 27, 2023

How is coal tar different from crude oil?

Coal tar is a byproduct of coal, while crude oil is a natural resource.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 27, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.

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