The United States of America (USA), commonly referred to as the United States (US), America, or simply the States, is a federal republic consisting of 50 states, 16 territories, a federal district, and various overseas extraterritorial jurisdictions. The 48 contiguous states and the federal district of Washington, D.C., are in central North America between Canada and Mexico. The state of Alaska is the northwestern part of North America and the state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific. The country also has five populated and nine unpopulated territories in the Pacific and the Caribbean. At 3.79 million square miles (9.83 million km2) in total and with around 316 million people, the United States is the fourth-largest country by total area and third largest by population. It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many countries. The geography and climate of the United States is also extremely diverse, and it is home to a wide variety of wildlife.
Paleo-indians migrated from Asia to what is now the US mainland around 15,000 years ago, with European colonization beginning in the 16th century. The United States emerged from 13 British colonies located along the Atlantic seaboard. Disputes between Great Britain and these colonies led to the American Revolution. On July 4, 1776, delegates from the 13 colonies unanimously issued the Declaration of Independence. The ensuing war ended in 1783 with the recognition of independence of the United States from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and was the first successful war of independence against a European colonial empire. The current Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787. The first 10 amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, were ratified in 1791 and guarantee many fundamental civil rights and freedoms.
Building material is any material which is used for construction purposes. Many naturally occurring substances, such as clay, rocks, sand, and wood, even twigs and leaves, have been used to construct buildings. Apart from naturally occurring materials, many man-made products are in use, some more and some less synthetic. The manufacture of building materials is an established industry in many countries and the use of these materials is typically segmented into specific specialty trades, such as carpentry, insulation, plumbing, and roofing work. They provide the make-up of habitats and structures including homes.]citation needed[
Brush structures are built entirely from plant parts and are generally found in tropical and sub-tropical areas, such as rainforests, where very large leaves can be used in the building. These are built mostly with branches, twigs and leaves, and bark, similar to a beaver's lodge. These were variously named wikiups, lean-tos, and so forth.]citation needed[
A road is a thoroughfare, route, or way on land between two places, which has been paved or otherwise improved to allow travel by some conveyance, including a horse, cart, or motor vehicle. Roads consist of one, or sometimes two, roadways (British English: carriageways) each with one or more lanes and also any associated sidewalks (British English: pavement) and road verges. Roads that are available for use by the public may be referred to as public roads or highways.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) defines a road as "a line of communication (travelled way) using a stabilized base other than rails or air strips open to public traffic, primarily for the use of road motor vehicles running on their own wheels," which includes "bridges, tunnels, supporting structures, junctions, crossings, interchanges, and toll roads, but not cycle paths."
Road surface or pavement (American English) is the durable surface material laid down on an area intended to sustain vehicular or foot traffic, such as a road or walkway. In the past, gravel road surfaces, cobblestone and granite setts were extensively used, but these surfaces have mostly been replaced by asphalt or concrete. Road surfaces are frequently marked to guide traffic. Today, permeable paving methods are beginning to be used for low-impact roadways and walkways.
Asphalt (specifically, asphalt concrete) has been widely used since the 1920s. The viscous nature of the bitumen binder allows asphalt concrete to sustain significant plastic deformation, although fatigue from repeated loading over time is the most common failure mechanism. Most asphalt surfaces are laid on a gravel base, which is generally at least as thick as the asphalt layer, although some 'full depth' asphalt surfaces are laid directly on the native subgrade. In areas with very soft or expansive subgrades such as clay or peat, thick gravel bases or stabilization of the subgrade with Portland cement or lime may be required. Polypropylene and polyester geosynthetics have also been used for this purpose and in some northern countries, a layer of polystyrene boards have been used to delay and minimize frost penetration into the subgrade.
Asphalt concrete is a composite material commonly used in construction projects such as road surfaces, parking lots, and airports. Asphalt concrete consists of asphalt (used as a binder) mixed with mineral aggregate and then laid down in layers and compacted. Asphalt concrete was refined and enhanced to its current state by Belgian inventor and U.S. immigrant Edward de Smedt. It is increasingly being used as the core of embankment dams.
It is commonly called simply asphalt, blacktop, or paving (particularly in North America). The terms "asphalt (or asphaltic) concrete", "bituminous asphalt concrete", and "bituminous mixture" are typically used only in engineering and construction documents and literature. The abbreviation "AC" is sometimes used for "asphalt concrete" but can also denote "asphalt content" or "asphalt cement", referring to the liquid asphalt portion of a bituminous mixture. Asphalt concrete pavements are often called just "asphalt" by laypersons who tend to associate the term "concrete" with Portland cement concrete only. The engineering definition of concrete is any composite material composed of mineral aggregate glued together with a binder, whether that binder is Portland cement, asphalt or even epoxy.
Asphalt US i// or UK //, also known as bitumen /, /, is a sticky, black and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid form of petroleum. It may be found in natural deposits or may be a refined product; it is a substance classed as a pitch. Until the 20th century, the term asphaltum was also used.
The primary use of asphalt/bitumen is in road construction, where it is used as the glue or binder mixed with aggregate particles to create asphalt concrete. Its other main uses are for bituminous waterproofing products, including production of roofing felt and for sealing flat roofs.