What is Aggregate and Types of Aggregate Used in Construction?

Arid is a landscaping term used to describe coarse-grained to medium-grained material. Varying in stone material and size, each type can have its own purpose when it comes to landscaping projects. Many types of construction materials, including concrete, asphalt and mortar, use aggregates as key ingredients. The use of aggregate materials for concrete reduces production costs and increases the strength of concrete mixes.

Crushed aggregates represent between 60 and 75% of the concrete volume. These crushed aggregates significantly affect the properties of freshly mixed and hardened concrete, making it more compact, decreasing its permeability (making it more resistant to water) and modifying its heat retention values. In order to meet the variety of different uses of aggregate materials, CEMEX offers a wide range of aggregates to meet the needs of our customers. Crushed stone aggregates, for example, are essential when it comes to building sand traps on golf courses, as well as in building and road construction.

Aggregates are classified based on bulk specific gravity into lightweight, normal weight and heavy weight aggregates. Streets, bridges, roads and sidewalks are made of concrete or asphalt, which is mainly composed of aggregates combined with a binder that acts as glue. Currently, only recycled aggregates made from construction or demolition waste are recommended for use in new concrete construction. Crushed rock aggregate is generally stone excavated or quarried that has been crushed and screened to the desired standard particle size and distribution.

The aggregate provides volume, stability, wear or erosion resistance, and other desired physical properties to the finished product. Aggregates in concrete occupy about 70 — 80% of the total volume provided by the main body to the concrete. Aggregate materials are obtained from natural sand or sand and gravel mines, quarries, deposits and underground sediments. For example, with a suitable mixture of cement and aggregates such as sand and gravel, a material can be created that allows water absorption and, at the same time, reduces heat absorption, mitigating the urban heat island effect, which significantly increases the temperature of paved areas.

In addition to construction projects, aggregates can also be used in drainage, water filtration and erosion control. These characteristics make aggregate materials an indispensable ingredient when it comes to building and maintaining roads, sidewalks, parking lots, airport runways, railroads, and a variety of buildings and highways. The properties of recycled aggregates may differ between types of concrete because the parent concrete was designed for its purposes such as permeable, durable and high-strength concrete. Fine aggregate generally consists of sand, crushed stone or crushed slag screens; coarse-grained aggregate consists of gravel (pebbles), broken stone fragments, slag and other coarse-grained substances. Aggregates greatly influence freshly mixed and hardened concrete properties, mix ratios and economy.

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