Historically, the first polymer material combined with bitumen was caoutchouc. Originally, natural modifiers were used, with synthetic materials being developed later on.
The history of “relations” of caoutchouc and bitumen spans over 160 years. The first mention about this interaction can be found in British patents, in particular in a document issued to a person named Hankook. In terms of application of modified bitumen in road construction, it is necessary to mention the patent of Kassel, dated 1844.
In the course of time, application of bitumen-polymer compositions became increasingly popular with the growing production of polymer materials and large amounts of byproducts of this production which were difficult to find a use for.
Almost all known polymers have been tested as bitumen modifiers, however, only a few materials are used in practice. In general these are carbon chain polymers with straight and branched chains: polypropylene, polyethylene, caoutchoucs of various structure. Among heteroatom polymers it is necessary to specify oxygen containing substances (copolymers with vinyl acetate, polyvinyl alcohol, etc), as well as nitrogen-, sulphur- and halogen containing materials.
The current progress in bitumen structure concept allows creating asphalt-polymer-bitumen compositions with better precision and to control their properties.