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Construction Aggregates: How Important are They? Aggregates play an essential role in providing the strength needed 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. 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. The presence of harmful materials involving silt, clay or acidic salts can in fact affect the strength and durability of concrete that could potentially lead to inhomogeneity in composition and to the failure of the structure when subjected to eccentric loading. Certain associations specify four grading zones for fine aggregates in order of decreasing particle size that start from coarse sand and ending up 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 includes crushed natural gravel, natural sand and crushed natural stones and these particles must be able to pass through sieve openings for about 4.75mm, but the ones that are completely retained in it are the coarse aggregates that includes uncrushed gravel, 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. 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. To provide the necessary support for concrete dams that comes with a huge mass, aggregates which were formed by igneous rocks are the ones that are utilized. Even though aggregates are known commonly as inert fillers in concrete, the different properties of aggregates have a large impact 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.