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Types of Aggregates: The Different Types of Aggregates Used in Construction

Aggregates are one of the significant building materials applied in construction. Aggregates are predominantly used to yield concrete which is created by mixing a definite amount of cement, aggregates (coarse and fine aggregates), in addition to water. In this editorial, we will discuss diverse types of aggregates employed in construction as well as their arrangement.

What Is Aggregate?

These are small pieces of rock that are blended through a binding material to harvest concrete or else mortar. The binding material utilized is cement, bitumen, etc. As a result, cement concrete and bituminous concrete are formed, correspondingly.

The size of the concrete class aggregate depends upon the practice of concrete. This idea shall be explained on later in this editorial. The aggregate plays an imperative role in describing concrete properties.

The texture, size, shape, chemical nature and degree of aggregate influence the concrete quality. The selection of the incorrect aggregate for concrete can show the way to the degradation of concrete class that, eventually results in poor performance or else failure, or else both.

The aggregate-cement compatibility ought to be checked before application. The high silica aggregate reacts thru the alkali of cement as well as forms deleterious compounds that unpleasantly affect the concrete class.

The scope of this editorial is limited to the basic comprehension of aggregates, their resolution of usage, as well as their kinds depending on their origin along with composition.

Kinds of Aggregates

The aggregates may be categorized on the basis of sources, shape in addition to weight. The different kinds of aggregates applied in construction are concisely discussed below.

Grouping of Aggregates Founded Geological Origin

Natural and Artificial Aggregates

The rock remains that need negligible processing prior to use are known as natural aggregates. The natural aggregates are usually offered at the earth’s surface. They are composed by mining pits in-ground, on riverbeds, as well as on the seabed.

Before application, the natural aggregates ought to be washed to clean the external materials else the binding material doesn’t act suitably. IS 383:1970 (Reaffirmed 2002) puts the guidelines for coarse as well as fine natural aggregates.

Artificial aggregates are formed from materials that are shaped through an artificial course. Illustrations of artificial aggregates are cracked bricks, blast furnace slag, burnt-clay aggregate and synthetic aggregates.

Crushed and Recycled Aggregates

Concrete grade aggregate is not accessible everywhere, and therefore it needs to be formed. The rocks are excavated as well as crushed with mechanical resources to produce the aggregate. This aggregate is known as crushed aggregate.

They are high-class aggregates since they are shaped under controlled mechanical apparatus. The recycled aggregate serves numerous purposes. It accomplishes its’ anticipated duties, and it is bearable since it is produced from concrete waste.

The wreckage of the old concrete assemblies is crushed to yield recycled aggregate. Hence, no mine is essential. The recycled aggregates are an outstanding substitute to conservative aggregates in backfilling, drainage, in addition to embankment.

Grouping of Aggregates Built On Grain Size

Fine and Coarse Aggregates

According to IS 383:1970 (Repeated 2002), the aggregates transiting through IS Sieve of 4.75mm are named as fine aggregates, as well as aggregates retained on the 4.75 mm filter are acknowledged as coarse aggregates.

The norms form the basis of separation between the fine as well as coarse aggregate. Both types differ mainly in properties as well as find their applicaions for different purposes.

The general supreme coarse aggregate size applied in cement concrete is 40mm, despite the fact that 4.75-20mm is the most utilized size. For bituminous concrete in fact, <10mm size aggregate is a suitable choice. 

Coarse Aggregates

The fine aggregate is mostly termed as sand collected of silicon dioxide in the system of quartz. The sand is additionally classified into 4 zones according to the material transiting through IS sieves. The regular particle size rises in moving from Zone 1 to Zone 4. Therefore, the fineness modulus drops.

Fine Aggregates

Grouping of Aggregates Grounded On Shape

Rounded and Angular Aggregates

The rounded as well as angular correspond to the form of aggregate. The form of the aggregate influences the strength of concrete as well as is hence a point of consideration while picking the aggregate.

The round aggregates incline to roll over each other as well as are hence inappropriate for the ridge. They have voids fluctuating from 30-35%.

The cement paste condition is low. Because of lesser interlocking as well as more sliding propensity, the round aggregates are dodged as much as promising.

Rounded Aggregates

The angular aggregates are joined with each other. As a result, the angular aggregates offer improved strength as contrasted to the rounded aggregates. Merely angular aggregates are employed in construction to preserve the class of concrete.

Irregular Aggregates

Pit sands as well as gravel are illustrations of irregular aggregates. They have moderately nature-made shapes through 35- 37% of voids. Irregularly formed aggregate presents lesser workability as well as has bond strength somewhat good contrasted to rounded aggregate but not as compulsory for high-strength concrete.

Flaky and Elongated Aggregates

Flaky aggregates are in fact thin aggregates. Their depth is less as compared to 60% of the particle’s mean measurement. The flaky aggregates are unwanted as they have additional voids and need extra cement slurry to fix them organized.

Elongated aggregates hold a length superior to 180% of the particle mean measurement. Flaky as well as elongated aggregates provide lower workability and therefore should be avoided.

Classification of Aggregates Grounded On Shape Weight

Lightweight Aggregate

These aggregates have a unit weight of equal to 121kn/m3. They are offered in either natural for example pumice, sawdust, rice husk, diatomite, volcanic cinders, and scoria or else artificial forms for instance foamed slag, bloated clay, coke breeze, sintered fly ash, expanded perlite and so on

Normal Weight Aggregate

Normal weight aggregate yields concrete through unit weight oscillating from 23 to 26 KN/m3 with a detailed gravity between 2.5 as well as 2.7. The crushing forte at 28 days of these aggregates arrays between 15 to 40 MPa.

Instances: Sand, gravel, in addition to crushed rocks for instance granite, quartz, sandstone, basalt and limestone.

Heavy Weight Aggregate

These aggregates are those having precise gravities extending from 2.8 to 2.9 and unit weights from Twenty Eight to Twenty Nine kN/m3.

Class of Aggregates
  1. The aggregate ought to be hard, clean, along with well graded.
  2. The refinement modulus of natural sand ought to be in the collection of 2.2-3.0 as well as that of artificial sand ought to be in the assortment of 2.4-2.8.
  3. The humidity content of aggregate must be stable as well as in artificial sand; it ought not to exceed 6%.


Applications of Aggregate In Construction

In building, the aggregates have numerous uses. Some of the applications are with binding materials as well as some are independent applications.

  • The aggregate is the vile material for concrete as well as provides bulk (70 to 80% of cement concrete volume is actually coarse aggregate).
  • It bounds the contraction of cement concrete upon dehydrating.
  • The coarse as well as fine aggregate mixture is employed as a base as well as sub-base course in road structure.
  • The coarse aggregate blended with bitumen is utilized in tiring coats of roads.
  • In railways, the great strength crushed coarse aggregate is applied as ballast to securely transfer the loads as well as vibration to the subgrade.
  • A graded blend of fine as well as coarse aggregate is employed as filtration media in water in addition to sewage treatment.
  • The aggregates are repeatedly employed as backfilling material.


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