You are on page 1of 7


Aggregate is a collective term for the mineral materials such as sand, gravel and crushed stone
that are used with a binding medium (such as water, bitumen, Portland cement, lime, etc.) to
form compound materials (such as asphalt concrete and portland cement concrete).
Aggregate is also used for base and sub-base courses for both flexible (bituminous roads) and
rigid pavements. (Concrete roads) OR
Aggregates are materials mixed with binding materials like cement, lime or mud in the
preparation of of mortar or concrete.
These shall consist of naturally occurring stones, gravels, and sand and shall be hard,
strong and durable.
Natural aggregates are formed by the process of weathering and abrasion, or by artificial
crushing of larger parent mass.
The aggregates occupy 70-80% (3/4) of the volume of concrete; their impact on various
characteristics and properties of concrete is considerable.
Aggregates can largely influence the composite properties due to its large volume

Classification of Aggregate:

Aggregates can be divided into several categories according to different criteria.

a) In Accordance with Size:
Fine aggregate (sand): Aggregates passing through sieve No.4 (4.75 mm) and retained on
0.15mm mesh (sieve).
Coarse aggregate: Aggregates retained on sieve No. 4 (4.75 mm) and smaller than 75mm
(7.5cm) are known as coarse aggregates.. For mass concrete, the maximum size can be as large
as 150(15cm) mm.
Cyclopean aggregates: Aggregates whose size is from 75mm to 150mm are known as
cyclopean aggregates.
B) In Accordance With Sources:
Natural aggregates: This kind of aggregate is taken from natural deposits without changing
their nature during the process of production such as crushing and grinding. Some examples in
this category are sand, crushed limestone, and gravel.
Manufactured (synthetic) aggregates: This is a kind of man-made materials produced as a
main product or an industrial by-product. Some examples are blast furnace slag, lightweight
aggregate (e.g. expanded perlite), and heavy weight aggregates (e.g. iron ore or crushed steel).
C) In Accordance With Unit Weight

Light weight aggregate: The unit weight of aggregate is less than 1120 kg/m3. The
corresponding concrete has a bulk density less than 1800 kg/m3. (Cinder, blast-furnace slag,
volcanic pumice).

By Engineer Asghar Hussain Shah Page 1


Normal weight aggregate: The aggregate has unit weight of 1520-1680 kg/m . The concrete
made with this type of aggregate has a bulk density of 2300-2400 kg/m .
Heavy weight aggregate: The unit weight is greater than 2100 kg/m3. The bulk density of the
corresponding concrete is greater than 3200 kg/m3. A typical example is magnesite limonite, a
heavy iron ore. Heavy weight concrete is used in special structures such as radiation shields.
D) classification based on surface texture
Surface texture is a measure of the smoothness and roughness of aggregate. The grouping of
aggregate is broad and is based on visual examination of the specimen. As per IS: 383-1970 the
aggregates are classified into five groups, namely, Glassy, Smooth, Granular, Crystalline,
Honeycombed and Porous.

Glassy Black flint

Smooth Gravel, Marble

Granular Sandstone

Rough Basalt

Crystalline Granite

Honeycombed & Porous Brick, slag

E) Classification Based On Shape

The shape of aggregates is an important characteristic, since it affects the workability of
Rounded River or seashore gravels

Partly rounded Pit sands & Gravels

Angular Crushed Rocks

By Engineer Asghar Hussain Shah Page 2


Flaky Laminated rocks

Properties of Aggregates
Physical Properties
The physical properties of aggregates are those that refer to the physical
Structure of the particles that make up the aggregate.
a) Absorption, Porosity, And Permeability
Absorption relates to the particle's ability to take in a liquid.
Porosity is a ratio of the volume of the pores to the total volume of the particle.
Permeability refers to the particle's ability to allow liquids to pass through it.
The porosity, permeability and absorption of an aggregate particle may affect the strength of the
aggregate, abrasion resistance, surface texture, specific gravity, bonding capabilities, and
resistance to freezing and thawing action.
b) Surface Texture
Surface texture is the pattern and the relative roughness or smoothness of the
Aggregate particle.
A rough surface texture gives the cementing material something to grip, producing a stronger
bond, and thus creating a stronger hot mix asphalt or portland cement concrete.
c) Strength And Elasticity
High strength and elasticity are desirable in aggregate base and surface courses.
These qualities minimize the rate of disintegration and maximize the stability
of the compacted material.
d) Density And Specific Gravity
The density and the specific gravity of an aggregate particle is dependent upon the density and
specific gravity of the minerals making up the particle and upon
e) Aggregate Voids
Aggregate particle voids influence the specific gravity and absorption of the Aggregate materials.
f) Hardness
Hard aggregates have good cementation and are more resistant to abrasion and degradation.
Whereas soft aggregates have poor cementation and are not resistant to abrasion and degradation.
g) Particle Shape
The shape of the aggregate particles affects such things as:
1) The asphalt demands of hot mix asphalt
2) The workability and the strength of both portland cement
concrete and asphalt pavements
Irregular and angular aggregates give more strength as compared to round aggregates but are less
workable than round aggregates.
Los Angeles Abrasion Test
To determine the resistance to degradation of small size coarse aggregate in Los Angeles

By Engineer Asghar Hussain Shah Page 3


Several mechanical properties of aggregates are of interest, especially when the aggregates are to
be used in road construction or are to be subjected to high wear. Strength, toughness, hardness or
resistance to wear is an important property of concrete used in roads and floor surfaces subjected
to heavy traffic.
Los Angeles abrasion test studies all possible reasons causing wear. In the Los Angeles abrasion
machine attrition, abrasion, and crushing are all present as follows
Attrition: by the friction between the aggregate particles.
Abrasion: by the friction between the steel balls and the aggregates
Crushing: by hitting the walls of the testing machine
Los Angeles test is suitable for coarse aggregates of different sizes and is not used for fine
Los Angeles machine
Steel balls
Sample trays
Wire brush
Prepare the sample according to gradation
Place the test specimen and abrasive charge in the Los Angeles Abrasive Testing Machine
and close the opening with the dust-tight cover.
Start the testing machine and allow to operate for the required number of revolutions at a
speed of 30 to 33 rpm.
When the testing machine has completed rotating the required number of revolutions,
remove the cover and carefully empty the entire contents into a pan. Remove the abrasive
charge from the pan.
Separate the test specimen on the 4.75-mm sieve, then sieve the passing 4.75-mm
material on the 1.70-mm sieve. Combine the material retained on the 4.75 and 1.70-mm
sieves. Weigh and record these values to the nearest 1 g.
Wash the aggregates retained on sieve no 12. Then Place these aggregates in oven for
drying and then weighed.
Now find the abrasion value in percentage by the formula as given below
Abrasion value= (W1W2) 100
W1=weight of material before test
W2=weight of material after test

By Engineer Asghar Hussain Shah Page 4



For determination of the aggregate crushing value of coarse aggregate, which passes 12.5 mm. IS
sieve and retained on 10 mm. IS sieve.
(I) a steel cylinder 15 cm diameter with plunger and base plate.
(II) A straight metal tamping rod 16mm diameter and 45 to 60cm long rounded at one end.
(III) A balance of capacity 3 kg readable and accurate to one gram.
(IV) IS sieves of sizes 12.5mm, 10mm and 2.36mm
(V) A compression testing machine.
(VI) Cylindrical metal measure of sufficient rigidity to retain its from under rough
usage and of 11.5cm diameter and 18cm height.
(VII) Dial gauge

((i)Put the cylinder in position on the base plate and weigh it (W)
(ii)Put the sample in 3 layers, each layer being subjected to 25 strokes using the tamping rod,
care being taken in the case of weak materials not to break the particles and weigh it (W1)
(iii)Level the surface of aggregate carefully and insert the plunger so that it rests horizontally on
the surface, care being taken to ensure that the plunger does not jam in the cylinder.

By Engineer Asghar Hussain Shah Page 5


(iv)Place the cylinder with plunger on the loading platform of the compression testing machine.
(v)Apply load at a uniform rate so that a total load of 40T is applied in 10 minutes .
(vi)Release the load and remove the material from the cylinder.
(vii)Sieve the material with 2.36mm IS sieve, care being taken to avoid loss of fines.
(viii)Weigh the fraction passing through the IS sieve (W2)

The ratio of weight of fines formed to the weight of total sample in each test shall be expressed
as a percentage, the result being recorded to the first decimal place.
Aggregate crushing value = (W2x100) / (W1-W)
W2 =Weight of fraction passing through the appropriate sieve
W1-W =Weight of surface dry sample.
The mean of two results to nearest whole number is the aggregate crushing value.
It consists of small grains of silica and is formed by the disintegration of rocks caused by
Classification of Sands
The classifications of sand are; Fine sand, medium sand, and coarse sand.

Fine sand = 0.075 to 0.425 mm

Medium sand = 0.425 to 2 mm
Coarse Sand = 2.0 to 4.75 mm

Various type of sand

Depending upon the source from which sand is obtained it is classified as
1) Pit sand (coarse sand) 2) River sand 3) Sea sand
1) Pit Sand (coarse sand)
It is found as deposits in soil and has to be excavated out. It consists of sharp angular grain which
is free from salt. It is coarse sand, reddish yellow in color, and is used in concreting normally.
2) River Sand
This is obtained from the bank and bed of rivers. It usually consists of fine rounded grains. It
may be fine or coarse sand. It is normally white and grayish in color. It is widely used for
plastering and is available in clean condition
3) Sea Sand
This is obtained from sea shores. It is brown in color and it also has the fine rounded grain. As it
is obtained from sea it contains salt, which is used in attracting moisture from atmosphere. Such
absorption causes dampness and disintegration of work. It is generally not used for engineering
purpose due to its retards setting action of cement. It is normally used for non structural
Bulking Of Sand
By Engineer Asghar Hussain Shah Page 6

It is the property of sand by virtue of which its apparent volume increases when some water is
added to it. It happens mainly due to surface tension. This increase in volume will not take place
when the sand is either dry or fully saturated. The bulking depends both on moisture content as
well as particle size
Bulking increases gradually with the increase in moisture 4% increase in moisture
content by weight, the increase in volume is about 25 percent. it then decreases with the increase
in moisture content till it become zero when the water is more than 20%.
Bulking is more in fine sand than in coarser one.


An ideal aggregate used for the manufacturing of concrete and mortar, should meet the following
(1) It should consist of natural stones, gravels and sand or in various combinations of
these materials.
(2) It should be hard, strong and durable.
(3) It should be dense, clear and free from any coating.
(4) It should be free from injurious vegetable matters.
(5) It should not contain flaky (angular) and elongated pieces.
(6) It should not contain any material liable to attack steel reinforcement in case of
reinforced concrete.

By Engineer Asghar Hussain Shah Page 7