What is Gilsonite?

What is Gilsonite?

The most comprehensive definition of gilsonite:

Gilsonite is made from crude oil, which hardens and oxidizes underground over the years.

Gilsonite surface is smooth and shiny.

Due to the pressure of the earth’s layers, oil turns into a solid body that turns black and brown.

This material becomes soft and fluid due to heat. Basically, the remaining bitumen is the evaporation of oil.

For many years, oil moves under fractures and layers of the earth and is trapped in ponds, which are surrounded by impermeable materials, such as gypsum, rock, etc. It evaporates to Gilsonite as the volatile oil evaporates under pressure.

If oil evaporates from an oil pond or lake, the oil residue is formed in the form of a bitumen or asphalt lake, of which the Trinidad bitumen lake is of this type.

Gilsonite is also known by other names such as mineral bitumen, bitumen, natural bitumen, asphaltum, natural asphaltum.

The simplest definition of bitumen:

Gilsonite (mineral bitumen) is a high purity natural hydrocarbon material, solid hydrocarbon, rich in asphaltene and nitrogen compounds.

It is also black, shiny and brittle, contains sulfur and a little ash.

Although bitumen looks like hard coal or asphalt, its chemical properties vary considerably.

Gilsonite is soluble in aromatic and aliphatic solvents as well as in petroleum bitumens.

Softer Gilsonite products occur in parallel, close to vertical fractures, in the Uinta Formation in the Uinta Basin.

Complete history of Gilsonite:

Gilsonite was first discovered in the United States in 1860 before Samuel H. Gilson. Gilson was not one of Gilsonite’s main discoverers.

But because of the great publicity effort, the people of the area came to know the substance as Gilsonite instead of its scientific name, uintaite.

In 1888, with his business partner, he founded a company called Gilsonite. He mined Gilsonite and marketed it commercially, and Gilsonite became better known.

Bitumen mines are found in most of the world’s oil-rich countries, except Saudi Arabia.

The most important Gilsonite mines in terms of reserves, respectively:

Located in the United States, Canada, Iran, Iraq, Russia, Venezuela, China, Australia, Mexico and the Philippines.

In general, about 65% of the world’s total reserves are located in the Americas, and Iran, as the third largest reserves in the world, has about 15 million tons of these reserves.

تاریخچه گیلسونایت History of Gilsonite

History of Gilsonite in Iran:

The largest Gilsonite mines are located in southwestern Iran. The discovery of oil in Iran dates back to the Sassanid period, also at that time Iranians were aware of the existence of oil and bitumen in the southwestern regions of the country.

In the Neolithic period, people used various methods, such as covering dishes, floors and walls of houses, and in making tools such as scythes and medical tools, to treat many infectious diseases and rheumatic pains.

Gilsonite, as a mineral such as obsidian and turquoise, plays an important role in regional trade.

In the middle of the fourth millennium, the Elamites produced a compound called bitumen paste.

This bituminous material was used in making objects such as dishes, ornaments, flat and cylindrical seals.

Types of bitumen sources:

Natural bitumens have 5 different origins and are classified accordingly .

1- Bitumens that come with layers and materials, in which oil is formed.

2- Bitumens that are associated with hemoclinical layers and the ends of the mentioned lobes appear on the ground.

3- Bitumens that appear in the place of discontinuities and other slopes.

4- Bitumens that are caused by large tanks that have been broken due to activities such as folding and faulting.

5. Bitumens that are observed with the influence of some geological phenomena such as: volcanoes, salt domes and igneous intrusions.

Molecular and chemical structure of Gilsonite:

Mineral bitumen is composed of a complex mixture of organic compounds, which to determine its specific properties, various analytical tests are performed for its chemical structure.

Preliminary analysis of a sample of Gilsonite identifies elements such as carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, sulfur, and oxygen in Gilsonite.

ساختار مولوکولی گیلسونایت Molecular structure of gilsonite

Applications of Gilsonite:

Gilsonite is used in more than 160 important applications in various industries, including paint, resin, construction materials, asphalt, road paving, casting, chemicals, drilling mud and cement, wax, roofing, black ink and rubber.

Due to the fact that Gilsonite is a non-toxic mineral, the use of this valuable product is increasing.

The main and most important applications of Gilsonite are as follows:

1- Production of asphalt and ISO step

Since Gilsonite is highly hydrophobic and resistant to acid and base, it increases the quality of ISO step and asphalt.

An important feature of Gilsonite materials is their solubility in non-polar solvents such as carbon disulfide, toluene, and molten bitumen. This feature of Gilsonite is used in ISO step and waterproofing industries.

Natural bitumen, due to its polymeric hydrocarbon material, is a suitable modifier for refinery bitumens, especially It is considered as asphalt and isogum.

2- Production of paints and inks from mineral bitumen

Black and brown pigments are extracted from Gilsonite, which is used in the preparation of printer inks. Take.

Giles resin Iran it  is widely used as black carbon to produce black ink and viscous ink Becomes.

Gilsonite resin of Iran competes very well with petroleum-based hydrocarbon resins, phenolic resins and metal resins, which can be used with different concentrations at all costs.

Different concentrations of this substance are used to produce special inks with high luminosity.

A special type of gilsonite is also used in the manufacture of asphalt black paints and polished oils.

It can also be prepared as a black-brown colored solution, which is used in bitumen coating gas, sewage, etc. pipes.

Used as a low-cost alternative to other resins in black ink compounds.

3– Isolation

It is widely used in insulation of dams, bridges and canals.

Gilsonite micronized powder has more solubility and insulation ability.

Due to the stability and resistance of Gilsonite to weather conditions, its use in this field is increasing. Used in electronics industry as insulation in electronic kits.

4- Preparation and production of emulsion bitumen

Gilsonite micronized powder is used in the preparation of aqueous emulsion bitumens. Emulsion bitumens are mainly exported To be. Emulsion bitumens are known as green and environmentally friendly bitumens.

5- Preparation and production of coke

Bitumen contains 70-80% carbon based on elemental analysis.

Because of this, when added to molten steel, it creates a reducing environment and can be used with coking materials such as coal.

It is also possible to prepare coke from some types. Bitumen is mixed with coals in which the coking property is weak and coke is prepared from it.

The resulting coke is often used in the sugar industry.

Also, from its sulfur-free or after desulfurization types, a type of coke called needle coke is prepared, which is widely used in electric arc melting furnaces.

گیلیونایت gilsonite

6- Use in drilling mud

Natural bitumen is used in the production of mud and drilling cement slurry. In drilling fluids to cement wells Oil is used.

This mineral is a unique and stabilized combination of mineral bitumen grades, used to provide optimal operation in drilling mud to stabilize shale (walls of oil wells). This substance reduces the weight of the slurry.

7- To prepare fuel

From Gilsonite lumps along with fuel compounds such as fuel oil and coal in the past for fuel in furnaces Thermal was used, which today is limited to low quality Gilsonite species.

8- Using Gilsonite in casting

Mineral bitumen is used as a carbonate additive in casting sands, which creates smoother plates on gray iron molds.

Gilsonite is mixed with coal sea and used as a special adhesive for casting sands, which reduces defects in the end of casting operations.

It also improves mold release. Gilsonite is used in casting as a binder to form metals.

Mineral bitumen is used to mix with chemical compounds such as magnesium and hydrated lime, for desulfurization in the steel industry.

9- Use of natural bitumen in the chemical industry

Bitumen has been used successfully for many years to produce sealants and adhesives.

With new production technology and unique natural quality control, this product can be used as a substitute for resin Kinetics in the fraction of raw materials should be considered.

Effective use of this natural resin is compatible with high quality Gilsonite executive applications.

After specialized examinations and tests, they find that this lubricant is very good. And different products can be achieved by combining it with different resins; Including graphite pencil, battery core. Also, because polyethylene or PVC materials corrode in dark colors against the sun’s ultraviolet rays, corrosion can be prevented by using this material.

Due to the new technology and the use of carbofibers, which can be mentioned in the construction of the aircraft fuselage, Gilsonite should be used.

Physical structure of Gilsonite:

Gilsonite Gilsonite is a natural bitumen (solid, brittle, shiny, with a high luster. Its ore is black and its powder is brown.

Physically and chemically similar to coal, fossil fuels, bitumen and petroleum products. The main difference with coal is its softness and melting before burning.

Also, its main difference with bitumen is its hardness and the properties of its polar molecules, which give it a dispersing property.

The fundamental difference between Gilsonite and natural and synthetic hydrocarbon minerals has led to its use in most industries as a unique mineral in terms of physical and chemical properties.

Gilsonite is divided into three ordinary degrees, separated and sieved, based on their melting point, refractive index, and fineness.

  • Price of bitumen:

The price of Gilsonite depends on several factors, including: Seasons: In winter, when there is a lot of rain, rainwater fills the mines. In these cases the market is in short supply and in As a result, the price increases. Therefore, export Gilsonite has the lowest price in March, April to October, October.

Demand: Sometimes large mines need more drilling and tailings. If demand is high at that time, the price will be different.

In some veins, natural asphalt is 100% high quality. The percentage of Gilsonite ash in Middle Eastern mines is from 0 to 25%.

The best-selling type of natural asphalt is usually natural asphalt with 5 to 15% ash.


Some customers demand jumbo bags which are relatively cheaper. But for some customers packaging It is very important and they use 25 kg multi-layered bags, which are more expensive.

25 and 50 kg bags are usually used for micronized bitumen powder.

بسته بندی گیلسونایت Gilsonite packaging

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