Concrete is one of the strongest and most versatile construction materials around, and so as you can imagine, there are some key ingredients that go into providing these properties. One of these ingredients is aggregate. Aggregate in concrete is used alongside cement to give it the key qualities that it has. In fact, aggregate usually makes up 60-80% of the volume of concrete and 70-85% of the mass of concrete. Before we look at how aggregate influences the properties of concrete, let’s take a moment to define what exactly it is, and where it comes from.
What Is Aggregate?
Aggregates can be made up of natural materials that have been crushed down into smaller particles. This is usually in the form of sand, gravel, glass, limestone or granite. However they can also be manufactured artificially from various by-products and waste materials. There are two main categories of aggregates – ‘fine’ and ‘coarse’. ‘Fine aggregates’ have a small diameter of less than 9.55mm, whilst ‘coarse aggregates’ have a diameter of between 9.5mm-37.5mm. Aggregate in concrete is also graded in the following ways:
Well Graded: This indicates a tightly packed field of many different sized particles
Poorly Graded: These are aggregate particles that are equal in size meaning that they are unable to use up all of the available space
Gap Graded: This involves a combination of large and small particles, with the small particles being tightly packed in between the gaps of the large particles
Grading is important as it has an influence on how strong the concrete is. The more closely packed the particles are, the greater the strength. Grading also influences how much cement is required to fill the gaps, impacting the overall ratios. The shape and surface texture of the particles also have an impact on the properties of freshly mixed concrete, and the water-cement ratio required.
Why Is Aggregate In Concrete So Important?
As we mentioned earlier on, aggregate in concrete plays a huge role in determining its properties and characteristics. This includes the following:
- Thermal and elastic properties
- Dimensional stability
- Volume stability
- Controlling shrinkage
- Preventing cracking
As you can imagine, aggregate in concrete is important for construction materials to suit different purposes and applications, ensuring the qualities suit the individual needs of the project. They’re also vital in ensuring the product is durable, and can withstand the likes of shrinkage and cracking.
What Aggregate Do We Use At Al Manaratain?
At Al Manaratain, we’re committed to ensuring our concrete perfectly suits the individual needs of all our customers. The aggregate we use mostly comes from Ras Al Khaimah in the UAE and we utilise the benefits of RAK aggregate in our concrete to ensure its properties are unrivalled in terms of strength, thermal insulation and resistance to damage. All our products are manufactured under strict quality control conditions to ensure that they meet our discerning standards of safety and quality.
If you would like to hear more about the concrete products we have available at Al Manaratain, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.