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bitumen

bitumen (bĭtyōˈmən) [key] a generic term referring to flammable, brown or black mixtures of tarlike hydrocarbons, derived naturally or by distillation from petroleum. It can be in the form of a viscous oil to a brittle solid, including asphalt, tars, and natural mineral waxes. Substances containing bitumens are called bituminous, e.g., bituminous coal, tar, or pitch.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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