The raw material now known as Gilsonite was discovered in the Uintah Basin in northeastern Utah, U.S of America. It is clear that the Native Americans who lived in the state of Utah were familiar with this material, yet there was neither commercial nor scientific use of it until the pioneers entered the Continent. During the 1860’s it was considered and in the mid-1880's Samuel Henry Gilson began to promote it as a waterproof coating for wooden pilings, as an insulation for wire cable, and as a unique varnish. after which it became known as "Gilsonite". Gilson’s name became linked through his persistent search for its uses and markets. In 1886, he and a partnership formed the company to mine and market gilsonite on a commercial scale and he is credited with the first real commercialization of the product.
Nature of Gilsonite:
Gilsonite is a natural resinous rock formed of a different types of hydrocarbons with special characteristics. This natural asphalt is similar to a hard petroleum asphalt. Gilsonite, also called natural asphalt, rock asphalt, uintaite, asphaltite.
The color of Gilsonite is basically black and often shiny in shape of lumps, similar in appearance to the mineral obsidian. It is a soft rock and brittle and it can be made into different mesh sizes powder.
Major component of Gilsonite is Carbon, while it contains several other elements including Nitrogen,Oxygen, Sulphur and some volatile matters. It’s unique chemical and physical properties make Gilsonite a high-performance, multipurpose additive. The low oxygen content relative to nitrogen suggests that much of the nitrogen has basic functionality.
One important factor to consider in Gilsonite is that the Ash Content. The main reason for this is that Gilsonite mining still will carry sands and rocks within the mined product. These particles in extracted Gilsonite are inseparable in some cases.
Gilsonite is generally soluble in aliphatic and aromatic solvents at ambient temperatures. The rate of solution will depend on the type of solvent, the type of mixing, and the grade of Gilsonite. Due to its unique compatibility, gilsonite is frequently used to harden softer petroleum products.
Gilsonite has an extremely wide range of uses; these uses have changed over time with new technology and industrial needs.It’s products are currently being widely used in water based, oil based, and synthetic based mud systems worldwide.