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Information @ a Glance

General

  • Aggregate is defined as a granular material used in construction, which may be natural, manufactured or re-cycled.

  • Construction aggregate, or simply "aggregate", is a broad category of coarse particulate material used in construction, including sand, gravel, crushed stone, slag, and recycled concrete.

  • Aggregates are a component of composite materials such as concrete and asphalt concrete; the aggregate serves as reinforcement to add strength to the overall composite material.

  • Natural Aggregates or Primary Aggregates are naturally occurring materials of rock, sand and gravel. These are extracted directly from land or marine sources for use in construction.

  • Secondary Aggregates or Manufactured Aggregates are by-products of industrial processes such as steel slag or pulverised fuel ash from power stations.

  • Secondary Aggregates also include Mineral Wastes, which are materials arising as a by-product of mineral extraction. They are capable for use, either with or without further treatment, as a primary aggregate substitute, e.g. slate waste and certain crushed rock fines.

  • Recycled Aggregates are previously used materials that are capable of being substituted for primary aggregates. These include waste material from construction operations; the demolition of buildings or structures and railway ballast.

Production Process

  • Most lightweight aggregate is produced from materials such as clay, shale, or slate.

  • Blast furnace slag, natural pumice, vermiculite, and perlite can be used as substitutes.

  • To produce lightweight aggregate, the raw material (excluding pumice) is expanded to about twice the original volume of the raw material.

  • The expanded material has properties similar to natural aggregate, but is less dense and therefore yields a lighter concrete product.

Uses

  • Lightweight aggregate is a type of coarse aggregate that is used in the production of lightweight concrete products such as concrete block, structural concrete, and pavement.

  • Homes, offices, warehouses, shopping centers, and workplaces all require foundations composed of aggregate, as well as concrete footers, asphalt parking lots, manufactured bricks, blocks and poured walls.

Market

  • According to the USGS, U.S. crushed stone production was 1.69 billion tonnes valued at $12.1 billion, of which limestone was 1,090 million tonnes valued at $7.49 billion from 1,904 quarries, granite was 263 million tonnes valued at $2.16 billion from 339 quarries, traprock was 130 million tonnes valued at $1.04 billion from 348 quarries, and the balance other kinds of stone from 597 quarries.

  • Currently, total U.S. aggregate demand by final market sector was 30%-35% for non-residential building (offices, hotels, stores, manufacturing plants, government and institutional buildings, and others), 25% for highways, and 25% for housing.

  • Aggregates themselves can be recycled as aggregates. Unlike deposits of sand and gravel or stone suitable for crushing into aggregate, which can be anywhere and may require overburden removal and/or blasting, "deposits" of recyclable aggregate tend to be concentrated near urban areas, and production from them cannot be raised or lowered to meet demand for aggregates.

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