Construction Aggregates: How Important are They? Aggregates have the important role in giving the necessary strength for concrete. Concrete transitions are the interfacial region between the aggregate and cement paste and this is the one that is responsible in giving compressive strength to the cement. Aggregates have to be round and equiangular in size and must not be flaky and irregular. However, the use of angular aggregates is advised more because such kind of aggregate have a good interlocking effect which have minimum surface area and needs less mortar in covering the surface area. During the time of extraction of the aggregate, care should be considered to make the aggregate undergo washing or go through sieve analysis before this is used. Because any presence of harmful materials that involves clay, silt or acidic salts could affect the strength and the durability of concrete, which will lead to inhomogeneity in composition and in the failure of the structure if this will be subjected to eccentric loading. There are some associations that specifies four grading zones for fine aggregates that are placed in order for decreasing particle size that starts from coarse sand and ending with fine sand. It is best that you don’t use fine sand in making RCC structures because they are porous and could cause corrosions in the reinforcement.
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Fine aggregates have to include natural sand and crushed natural stone and gravel and these must be able to pass through a sieve of opening for about 4.75 mm where the ones that are retained completely are coarse aggregates that would include uncrushed gravel and stone and 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. A well-graded aggregate that is used in a cement mixture is able to help reduce the presence of air voids and it also helps in providing sufficient strength and durability for the concrete. There are some tests which are carried out to some aggregates like impact tests, abrasion tests and soundness tests of aggregates that are done through dissolving them in a certain solution of sodium and magnesium sulphate. To provide the necessary support for concrete dams which has a huge mass, aggregates which were formed by igneous rocks are the ones that are preferred highly. Even when aggregates are commonly known as inert fillers in concrete, various properties of aggregates are able to give a large impact when it comes to durability, strength, workability and 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.