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Aggregates for Construction – How Are They Used? Aggregates are very important because it supplies the needed strength for concrete. The transition of concrete would be the interfacial region between the cement paste and aggregate and is the one that’s responsible in providing compressive strength to the cement. Aggregates have to be round and equiangular in size and must not be flaky and irregular. The use of angular aggregates are highly advised because this kind of aggregate comes with a good interlocking effect that gives minimum surface area and will require less mortar to cover the surface. During the extraction time of the aggregates, care must be taken to make the aggregate go sieve analysis or washing before this will be used. Having the presence of harmful materials like clay, silt or acidic salts will affect the strength and durability of concrete which can lead to inhomogeneity in composition and on the failure of the structure if this will be subjected to eccentric loading. Some associations specify four grading zones for fine aggregates placed in order of decreasing particle size which starts from coarse sand and ends with fine sand. You should consider avoiding the use of fine sand in making RCC structures due to the fact that they are porous and can cause corrosions in its reinforcements.
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Fine aggregates will include natural sand, crushed natural stone and crushed and these particles must be able to pass through a sieve opening for about 4.75 mm and the ones that are completely retained are coarse aggregates that includes uncrushed gravel and stone and the big boulders.
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Aggregates have to be inert chemically in nature and needs to be tough sufficiently, hard and needs to have good bearing capacities. Aggregates that are well-graded and used in a cement mixture helps to reduce the presence of air voids and also helps in providing sufficient strength and durability to the concrete. There are actually some tests that are being carried out to some aggregates such as abrasion, impact tests and soundness tests of aggregates which are done by dissolving them to a particular solution of sodium and magnesium sulphate. In providing support for concrete dams that has a huge mass, aggregates that were formed by igneous rocks has to be used. Though aggregates are usually commonly known as inert fillers in concrete, the different properties of aggregates gives a large impact on durability, strength, workability and also on the economy of concrete. The various properties of aggregates will allow the designers and contractors the flexibility in meeting their design and construction requirements.