UNIVERSITI TEKNOLOGI MARA

KAMPUS SAMARAHAN 2
FACULTY OF CIVIL ENGINEERING
DIPLOMA IN CIVIL ENGINEERING (EC110)
CIVIL ENGINEERING MATERIALS (ECS256)
EC1104D
EXPERIMENT OF FINENESS MODULUS AND PARTICLE SIZE
DISTRIBUTION
NAME

METRIC NO.

NORHANIFAH BINTI SHARKAWI

2013634108

ZUBIR BIN SHIBLI

2013651848

MOHAMMAD SYAFIQ AKMAL BIN ABDULLAH

2013431936

NUR AMYRA HIDAYAH BINTI AMIRUL

2013224456

NUR HAFIZAN BINTI ASMAIL

2013617608

LECTURER’S NAME: IR JAMIL BIN MATARUL
DATE OF SUBMISSION: 4 FEBRUARY 2015

INTRODUCTION
Particle size distribution is a grading of granular materials various sizes, expressed in terms
of cumulative percentage larger or smaller than each of the series of sizes of sieve opening as
according to BS 410:1986
Fineness modulus is a numerical index of fineness that gives some idea about the mean size
of particles in the entire body of concrete.
OBJECTIVE
The objectives of the experiment is:
1) To determine the fineness value modulus of given sample of aggregates by the
method of sieving analysis
2) To determine the grading of the aggregates i.e the particle size distribution.
THEORETICAL BACKGROUND
Fine aggregates (sand) used in mortar and in concrete. Coarse aggregate is the broken stone
used in concrete. Mixed aggregate is the combination of coarse aggregate and the fine
aggregate used in concrete. Fine aggregates particles will fill the voids in between the coarse
aggregate when compacted in a concrete mix. Therefore, proportions of different sizes of
aggregates are used in concrete mix.
Fineness mould is only a numerical index of fineness, giving some idea of the mean size of
particles in entire bulk aggregate, sample of which is taken for the test. It is obtained by
sieving a known weight of given aggregate in a set of standard sieves and by adding the
percentages weight of material retained on the entire sieve and dividing the total percentages
by 100.
Grading of the particle size distribution is determined by sieve analysis test. A graded
aggregate is one which made up of stone or particles of different sizes, ranging from large to
small. This graded aggregate of 40mm nominal size has particles of 40mm down to equal or
less than 4mm.

APPARATUS
Sieve set, weighing balance, mechanical sieve shaker, scoop, pail and wet sand sample.

PROCEDURE
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

The wet sand is taken from the sand compartment.
The sand sample is mixed and shaped it into cone.
The sand is levelled and cut into 4 parts. Then, take only two opposite parts.
The step 2 and 3 is repeated three times with remaining sand.
The last portion of sand is taken, put into the sieve pan and weighed it. The sand must

be at least 1kg. If not steps 1 to 5 is repeated.
6. The sieves is arranged in an descending manner and carefully put the sand at the top
most sieve.
7. The retained sand is weighted in each sieve and tabulate the data obtained.

DATA
Weight of fine aggregate taken: 1 kg
Table 1

Sie

Weigh

Weight of

Weigh

Cumulati

Cumulati

%

ve

t of

empty

t

ve grams

ve %

Passin

size

empty

sieve +

retain

retained

retained

g

sieve

weight

ed

(g)

(%)

(%)

(g)

aggregate(

(g)

3.35

551

g)
1502

951

951

95.1

4.9

mm
2.36

539

560

21

972

97.2

2.8

mm
1.7

514

531

17

989

98.9

1.1

mm
1.18

487

496

9

998

99.8

0.2

mm
850

477

478

1

999

99.9

0.1

µm
600

474

473

1

1000

100

0

µm
500

453

453

0

0

0

0

µm
425

451

451

0

0

0

0

µm
300

431

431

0

0

0

0

µm
212

415

415

0

0

0

0

µm
150

427

427

0

0

0

0

µm
75

414

414

0

0

0

0

µm
Pan

401

401

0
1000

0
100

0
100

TOTAL

0
Total =
9.1
Fineness
Modulus
= 0.0091

GRAPH 1

Particle Size Distribution Graph
6
5
4
3

Percent passing (%)

2
1

0

0

0

0
0.01

Sieve size (mm)

DISCUSSION
The fineness modulus is used to estimate the quantity of coarse aggregate to be used in the
concrete mix design. The finer the material, the more the water demand.
From the table, the largest weight retained is at the 3.35 mm sieve, and the least weight
retained is at the 600µm sieve. From the 500µm sieve onwards, there is no sand retained. The
table also shows that the highest percentage passing is 4.9% at the 3.35 mm sieve, 2.8%
passing at the 2.36 mm sieve, 1.1% passing at the 1.7 mm sieve, 0.2% passing at the 1.18 mm
sieve, and 0.1% passing at the 850µm sieve. This is because the sieving method used is the
wet sieving method, thus the particles of the sand tends to stick together unlike the dry
sieving method, where the particles are not inclined to stick with each other.
The three formulas used in constructing the Table 1 are;
1.

Cumulative retained=

Cumulative grams retained
× 100
Totalweight of sample

2.

Passing=100− retained on each sieve

3.

Finenessmodulus=

∑ of cumulative retained
100

Based on the formula above, the fineness modulus of the sand is calculated as 0.0091.
However, this value is irrelevant as the fineness modulus of fine aggregate should not be less
than 2.3 and not more than 3.1. The value from this experiment is mainly influenced by the
human error made in conducting the experiment.
Some precautions that need to be taken into consideration while conducting this experiment
is all of the sieves must be weighed individually before using them with the electrical sieve
shaker. Next, while mixing the fine aggregates, it is advisable for the mixer to remove large
particles such as the roots so it will not affect the reading of the retained aggregates later on.
Next, when cleaning the small sieve sizes such as the 75µm sieve, it should be done gently
because the material of the sieve is very fragile and it is prone to breaking.

CONCLUSION
Through this experiment, the fineness modulus of the fine aggregate is determined as 0.0091.
However, this value is irrelevant as the F.M of fine aggregate cannot be less than 2.3. This
may be because the test was not conducted using the standard procedure for wet sieving.

REFERENCES
1. http://www.virginiadot.org/business/resources/bu-mat-concretech2.pdf, Retrieved 2nd
January 2015.
2. Sir Ir.Jamil, Laboratory Manual, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Uitm Kota
Samarahan 2.
3. Sir Azland, Topic 2: aggregate, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Uitm Kota Samarahan
2.