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What Are Construction Aggregates?

What are construction aggregates?

  1. Raw materials
  2. Built for various construction jobs
  3. Have many advantages

 

In construction, you’ve likely come across the term “aggregates” in some form or another — but what are aggregates, exactly? Simply put, these are the materials that are oftentimes mixed with concrete, bitumen, asphalt, mortar, or other kinds of adhesive. Extracting aggregates from various sources involves complex processes, requiring the assistance of heavy-duty machinery and equipment, such as mobile impact crushers, excavators, tractors, bulldozers, and the like.

In the Philippines, most of the structures — be it commercial or residential — that you see in everyday life wouldn’t be possible without aggregates. In fact, recent statistics have shown that aggregate production reached more than 29 million cubic meters in the Philippines. There’s no doubt that the trend will continue to rise in the coming years or even months, especially with the announcement of the National Government’s Build, Build, Build program four years ago.

With this information, the importance of aggregates in the construction industry cannot be overstated enough. They have served as the primary building blocks for the smallest of projects, up until the most ambitious high-rise developments imaginable. Developing any kind of structure can be made possible only through continued focus on producing high-grade construction aggregates. Read on to learn more.

 

Raw Materials

Raw Materials

As mentioned before, aggregates are made out of natural stone materials that are crushed during the production process. They are extracted from the earth’s surface using various open-pit mining methods that create quarries where these materials are sourced.

Aggregate mining can be done for various types of products, such as crushed stone, sand, quartz, clay, or gravel. There are cases where these materials can be mined together, such as with gravel and sand. After mining, these raw materials are hauled and transported into a crushing plant or facility where crushing equipment is used to further reduce their size. After further separation and refining, the resulting compounds can now be mixed into concrete and be used for all kinds of construction projects.

 

Built for Various Construction Jobs

Construction jobs that use aggregates can range anywhere from building development to road paving. Primarily, they are used in concrete and are responsible for more than 80% of the material’s composition.

Some applications of aggregates include sidewalks, roadways, railway lines, buildings, bridges, sewage systems, foundations, columns, and many more.

When it comes to these kinds of applications, construction projects need to make sure that the aggregate size is the smallest possible, in order to avoid wastage of concrete. This is because poorly-crushed aggregates may lead to gaps in the compound. When this happens, this will prevent the materials from cohesively binding together. Over time, concrete-based structures can form cracks and lose their stability.

For road construction, aggregates are useful in stabilizing cementitious compounds such as fly ash, slag lime, resins, bitumen, tar, or even recycled aggregates themselves. Since roads experience constant impacts from foot and wheeled traffic, stability is crucial to ensure that the road does not get damaged.

 

Have Many Advantages

Have Many Advantages

Aside from providing stability to these applications mentioned above, aggregates also have a number of benefits: they’re durable, reduce the need for water or concrete, and increase the water permeability of different structures.

 

Durable

With durable materials, structures can last for a much longer time and reduce the level of wear and tear. Especially when these structures are built for public use, they don’t get easily damaged and won’t form irreparable cracks that can compromise the safety of the users. Project owners also won’t have to consistently invest in time-consuming activities just to maintain or repair the structure, due to the added strength of the aggregates.

 

Reduce The Need for Water and Concrete

Aggregates are also an economical construction choice because they reduce the need for water and concrete. Water is a precious and non-renewable resource — excessive use can not only increase resource costs for a project but may also impact the environment in negative ways.

With less need for these materials, project owners can save up on their expenses. Although aggregates are naturally occurring and can be simply mixed with concrete and water, they are widely accessible and are easily supplied by different manufacturers.

 

Increases Water Permeability

Concrete is a naturally porous material, meaning that any kind of liquid and moisture will be able to easily pass through its layers. As such, aggregates are used to improve the material’s water permeability.

Fine aggregates can fill the gaps present in the layers of concrete. Even if water may pass through it, the added protection can reduce the effects of moisture and prevent loosening up of the compound. It can also aid in minimizing bacterial growth that results from excessive moisture presence.

 

Key Takeaway

What are aggregates? As outlined, these are popular construction materials made from different types of crushed stone, rocks, gravel, quartz, or clay. These raw products are mined and then further processed using crushing, sifting, and separating machinery.

Aggregates have a number of advantages — they’re durable, economical, and improve the qualities of cementitious structures. While they may be commonplace in all kinds of construction projects, they nevertheless have an important role to play in the commencement and completion of different structures.

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