Surface wrinkling: the phenomenon causing bees in bitumen
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The so called "bee phenomenon" in bitumen has been investigated by means of AFM quantitative nanomechanical property mapping. Bees are a phenomenon that can be observed by topography measurements using AFM. The characteristic "bee" appearance comes from regions with alternating higher and lower bands in the surface topography of bitumen, which are surrounded by a flat area. The proposed mechanism for bee formation is phase separation and differential contraction during cooling from melt temperatures leading to wrinkling due to differences in the elastic modulus of the material phases. Using a laminate wrinkling model, the thickness of the bee laminate was calculated from the wavelengths and Young's moduli of the bee laminate and the matrix. It was found to vary between 70 and 140 nm for the five bitumen samples that contained significant amounts of wax. 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.