While concrete only has a few ingredients, the recipe is much more complicated than most people first think. You only need a few materials to create strong, durable concrete: water, cement, and aggregates. The aggregates—rocks, crushed stone, sand, and other granular materials—are what give the concrete the majority of its bulk and strength. Having the right type of aggregates in a concrete mixture is crucial if construction workers don’t want the final product to break.
Sand is a crucial component in concrete aggregate mixtures. And not just any type of sand will work for construction; the sand on the beach, in a children’s sandbox, and in the Sahara, all have a dramatically different microscopic surface. That’s why using a specific type of sand—concrete sand—is crucial for construction projects.
Concrete sand is a specific type of sand used as an aggregate in concrete mixtures. Since the surface of concrete sand is coarse, it bonds easier with water, cement, and other aggregates to create strong and durable concrete products.
On a microscopic level, the surfaces of different types of sand are extremely different, even though they may look similar to the untrained eye. Some types of sand have a smooth surface, and others have a coarse and jagged surface. The rough exterior provides more surface area for other materials like water and cement to bind to. This makes coarse sand such as concrete sand much better to use in construction where stronger material bonds are needed to create more durable and longer-lasting concrete.
Concrete sand is used in a variety of construction and non-construction applications. While it’s most commonly used in asphalt and concrete paving stones, it is also a popular landscaping material. The size and texture of concrete sand make it an ideal material for holding objects like septic tanks, stones, and pipes in place while also allowing proper drainage. It also is used to level out any uneven ground, provide additional traction on icy roads and surfaces, and is a popular topdressing on lawns, golf courses, horse arenas. It’s also a popular addition to potting soil mixtures since it drains excess water well.
Concrete sand is also a type of washed sand product, meaning any dirt on the sand particles or in the mixture has been cleaned away. This ensures pure washed concrete sand for a smoother and more durable mixture.
Since concrete is the most popular construction material in the world, having the right type of sand is crucial. For countries like India and China that don’t have easy access to the correct type of sand but that are experiencing high levels of infrastructure growth, concrete sand is in increasingly short supply.
Construction projects across the globe use more than 40 billion tons of sand each year. Sand created by the wind (like desert sand) produces rounded grains that are too smooth and too small to be used in concrete and construction. The coarse and gritty textured sand construction projects require is only created in places like riverbeds and the seabed.
The demand for high-quality sand has led to the rise in illegal sand mining operations and “sand pirates” across the globe. These sand ganges smuggle the favorable sand and then sell it to the highest bidder—often those countries without access to their own sand. The increase in demand for prized coarse sand will most likely continue to grow as developing countries grow and improve their infrastructure.
Operating since 1974, A-Core brings almost 50 years of experience to every project and client we work with. Our expertise in the industry ensures your construction project is successful. Our concrete specialists can help you with your residential, governmental, or commercial concrete construction project. Request a quote for your upcoming project today.