Bitumens are usually characterised by using time-consuming empirical or functional physico-chemical tests. This paper reports a method for the determination of various physico-chemical properties (viz. viscosity at 60 and 135°C, density at 15°C, softening point and Fraass breaking point) and the chemical composition (viz. n-heptane-insoluble asphaltenes, asphaltenes + insoluble polar resins (IPR), saturated hydrocarbons, aromatic hydrocarbons and resins) of bitumens using near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy in conjunction with partial least-squares regression (PLSR). The proposed method surpasses existing alternatives in expeditiousness; also, it allows the simultaneous determination of several parameters from a single spectrum and is amenable to implementation in the continuous mode. Its accuracy and precision are essentially identical with those of reference methods; the relative standard deviation ranges from 0.2% for density to 14% for the Fraass breaking point. © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V.
- Multivariate calibration
- NIR spectroscopy
- Physico-chemical parameters determination