For a good concrete mix, aggregates need to be clean, hard, strong particles free of absorbed chemicals or coatings of clay and other fine materials that could cause the deterioration of concrete. Aggregates, which account for 60 to 75 percent of the total volume of concrete, are divided into two distinct categories--fine and coarse. Fine aggregates generally consist of natural sand or crushed stone with most particles passing through a 3/8-inch sieve. Coarse aggregates are any particles greater than 0.19 inch, but generally range between 3/8 and 1.5 inches in diameter. Gravels constitute the majority of coarse aggregate used in concrete with crushed stone making up most of the remainder.
Characteristics of Aggregates
Grading is the distribution of particles of angular materials among various sizes. Grading is usually expressed in terms of cumulative percentage passing each sieve.
Different standards and specifications specify grading limits for both fine and coarse aggregates. There are several reasons for specifying grading limits and maximum aggregate size, they affect relative:
Particle Shape and Surface Texture
Absorption and surface moisture
Absorption and surface moisture of aggregate are measured when selecting aggregate because the internal structure of aggregate is made up of solid material and voids that may or may not contain water. The amount of water in the concrete mixture must be adjusted to include the moisture conditions of the aggregate.
Abrasion and skid resistance
Abrasion and skid resistance of an aggregate are essential when the aggregate is to be used in concrete constantly subject to abrasion as in heavy-duty floors or pavements. Different minerals in the aggregate wear and polish at different rates. Harder aggregate can be selected in highly abrasive conditions to minimize wear.
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