The notion of pitch it can refer to different substances. The first meaning of the term that mentions the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) in its dictionary alludes to a viscous substance generated from wood distillation of various conifers placed on the fire.

The idea of ​​distillation, in turn, indicates the process that is generated when a body is heated until obtaining the evaporation of its volatile substances, which can become liquid again when cooled. Distilling also involves allowing a liquid to leave a body through the drops that ooze from the pores.


The pitch is used in the manufacture of asphalt.

Types of pitch

The pitch is obtained from a pyrolysis or pyrolysis: that is, of a procedure that, thanks to the intervention of hot, leads a chemical compound to break down. It usually arises from tars, which are liquids generated when certain woods, oil or coal are distilled, among other materials.

To the tar, in fact, it is known as liquid pitch. When pitch is produced by distilling coal (stone coal), it is spoken of mineral pitch.

Another kind of tar is dry tar. This is what the rosin, a solid resin that appears when the turpentine (a juice that segregate several trees) is distilled.

The crass pitch, meanwhile, it is a mixture of three substances: black fish, tar Y rosin. As we have seen, rosin is a solid resin derived from turpentine, while tar is a liquid obtained by distillation of different materials. In the case of black fish, it is a substance resulting from the action of distilling impure turpentines.

His story

Elements have been found that show that humans have used pitch since prehistoric times. At the archaeological site of Illeta dels Banyets (Spain), to mention one site, a furnace was discovered where it was distilled Pine tree carrasco to produce pitch.


Tar can be obtained from the resin of certain trees.

In the seventeenth centuries Y XVIIIOn the other hand, the Scandinavian countries exported large quantities of tar which they made with woods of its forests. It is important to mention that, in some regions, the remains of felled or sawn trees were used to make pitch.

What is tar used for?

At a general level it can be stated that pitch is a by-product of different processes that transform the biomass, the Petroleum, the Coal, etc. It is a versatile material with multiple uses.

Formerly, pitch was used with cosmetic and medicinal purposes. This is due to its antiseptic, antidermatitic and antibacterial properties. Pitch was also used to insulate and waterproof boats Y amphoras.

Today pitch is often used to make asphalt, gluing parquet, sealing cracks and filling joints, among other tasks.

A tree and several places

It should be noted that pitch can also refer to a tree which belongs to the family group of compound plants. Of this species of scientific name Parkinsonia praecox, a resin similar to that of the gum arabic which was used as a replacement for pitch.

In SpainOn the other hand, there are villages and towns What Pitch (Corunna), Tagus Pitch (Madrid) Y Aragon Brea (Madrid), Meanwhile in Argentina the town of Brea Well (Santiago del Estero).