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Moisture content (MC) calculations

a) Relative to oven dry condition

where Wstock = weight of aggregates in stock

WOD = weight of oven dry aggregates

b) Relative to saturated surface dry condition

where Wstock = weight of aggregates in stock

WSSD = weight of aggregates in SSD condition
c) Absorption capacity

To make concrete, aggregates are mixed with water and cement. Since
concrete properties at both the fresh and hardened states are strongly
affected by the water content, it is very important to ensure that the right
amount of water is added to the mix. In designing concrete mix, the
moisture content under SSD condition is used as reference because that
is an equilibrium condition at which the aggregates will neither absorb
water nor give up water to the paste.

Thus, if MCSSD value for a batch of aggregates is positive, there is

surface moisture on the aggregates. If it is negative, it means that the
pores in aggregates are only partly filled with water.

Density and specific gravity

Density (D): weight per unit volume (excluding the pores inside a single aggregate)

Bulk density: the volume includes the pores inside a single aggregate.

BD can be either BDSSD or BDAD according to the moisture condition of

aggregate when it is weighed.

Specific gravity (SG): mass of a given substance divided by unit mass of an
equal volume of water (it is the density ratio of a substance to water).

Depending on the definition of volume, the specific gravity can be divided into
absolute specific gravity (ASG) and bulk specific gravity (BSG).


In practice, the BSG value is the realistic one to use since the effective volume
that aggregate occupies in concrete includes its internal pores.
The BSG of most rocks is in the range of 2.5 to 2.8.

Similar to BD, BSG can be either BSGSSD or BSGAD according to the moisture
condition of aggregates.
The BSG can be determined using the displacement method.
The weight of aggregate is first measured in air, e.g. under SSD condition, this is
denoted as WSSD in air.
Then, the weight of the sample is measured in water, the value being denoted
as WSSD in water.

Where, Wdisplacement is the weight of water displaced by the aggregates.

Unit Weight (UW) (except for pores inside every aggregate, the bulk volume
includes the spacing among aggregate particles).

The unit weight is defined as weight per unit bulk volume for bulk aggregates.

Besides the pores inside each aggregate, the bulk volume also includes the
space among the collection of particles.

According to the weight measured at different conditions, the unit weight can
be divided into UW (SSD) and UW (OD).


The percentage of spacing (voids) among the aggregates can be calculated as