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# Sieve Analysis and Density Test for Aggregates

## Lab 1: ASTM C127 & C136

Introduction

Pg. 3

Description

Pg. 4

Test Results

Pg. 5

Analysis

Pg. 8

Conclusions

Pg. 10

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Table of figures
Table 1: Specific gravity and absorption of the course aggregate

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Pg. 5

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## Figure 1: Grain Size Distribution

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Introduction
This lab contain two parts, one part being on ASTM C127 Relative Density Absorption and
the second part on ASTM C136 Sieve Analysis. Part one of this lab includes three weights: Dry,
Saturated Surface-Dry, and Wet (submerged). Using these three weight values, Bulk Specific
Gravity, Saturated Surface-Dry Specific Gravity, Apparent Specific Gravity, and the Absorption
percentage can be determined. These values can be essential to construction especially when
determining how much water must be added in a concrete mix.
Part two of this lab determines the grain size distribution of the mixture of fine and coarse
aggregate using a sieve analysis. The weights measured in each sieve are recorded and used to
determine the Percent Retained, Cumulative Percent Retained, and Percent Passing; values can
be found in Table 3. These values help to complete a Grain Size Distribution Graph, which is
displayed in Figure 1.
A sieve analysis has real word applications in civil engineering because different sizes of
aggregates can be combined together to create strong surfaces, thus determining the amounts
for different sizes of aggregates can be very important. For example, dams require a build of sand,
gravel, and clay to remain strong. The seven oaks dam near Bernardino California uses multiple
layers of aggregates that range from the size of boulders all the way down to sands. The
combination of aggregates determines a specific grade that characterizes a surface.

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Description
The Relative Density and Absorption portion of this lab include a testing procedure that
requires specific materials. It is also a standard test method can be found in ASTM C127. Materials
included aggregate, a scale on a lab table, a scale with a cage suspended in water, and a towel.
When beginning this lab it is important to record the oven dry weight of the aggregate. Once this
weight is recorded, the aggregate must then be placed in the cage that is suspended in water.
Once all of the aggregate is in the cage, all of the entrapped air must be removed. This can be
done by shaking the container while it was immersed. The container and the aggregate must be
fully immersed in the water before the weight is recorded. Once a weight been properly
measured, the aggregate must then be removed and placed on a towel. The aggregate must then
be rolled in the towel until all of the visible water is removed. It is important to ensure that no
evaporation of water occurs from the aggregates pores during the surface drying. After the drying
process has occurred, the weight of the aggregate in its saturated surface dry condition can be
recorded. Once all of this is completed and recorded, calculations can be made. This is displayed
in Table 1.
The Sieve Analysis portion of this lab is also a standard test method that can be found in
ASTM C136. Its procedure requires specific materials such as 2.0 kg of aggregate, Sieves No. 4 to
No. 200, a pan to collect the aggregate that passes all of the sieves, a mechanical shaker to help
the aggregate pass through the sieves, as well as a scales, and some brushes. This lab requires
2.0 kg of aggregate; this can be obtained by using the electronic scale to measure out the
aggregate. It is important to properly zero the scale before measuring the aggregate, in addition
the container holding the aggregate must not be included in the weight of the aggregate. Once
the correct amount of aggregate has been obtained, the mixture can be poured into the sieve
set. It is important to make sure that the sieves are in the correct order. This means the No. 4
sieve is on top and the No. 200 sieve is on the bottom. The pan will be placed below the No. 200
sieve to collect the dust. The dust is not considered fine aggregate and is not included in Table 2.
The sieve must then be placed in the mechanical shaker where it will be shaken for 5 minutes to
separate the aggregate. After the aggregate has been separated, each sieve can be carefully
separated and the aggregate in each tray can be weighed and recorded. The brushes can be used
to free any material that is lodged within the sieve. It is important to make sure the scale is zeroed
and the bowl has be emptied after each tray is measured. All the values for theses weights are
recorded in Table 3. Table 2 includes additional calculated values as well as Figure 1, which graphs
the results.

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Test Results
ASTM C127 Data
To Calculate

Value (grams)

2002.5

2014.5

1210

A/(B-C)

2.489123679

B/(B-C)

2.504039776

A/(A-C)

2.52681388

(B-A)/A*100%

0.599250936

Absorption %

## Table 1: Specific gravity and absorption of the course aggregate

The data for ASTM C127 in Table 1 includes the Sample Dry Weight, Sample Saturated
Surface Dry Weight, and Net Submerged Weight of Sample. These values are used to calculate
Bulk Specific Gravity, Saturated Surface Dry Specific Gravity, apparent Specific Gravity, and the
Absorption Percentage.
ASTM C136 Data
Value (grams)

% of Total

2000

100.00%

no. 4)

697

34.85%

## Total Fine Aggregate Weight (below

sieve no.4 excluding the pan)

1285

64.25%

2000.5

100.03%

## Table 2: Total aggregate weight

The data for ASTM C136 in Table 2 includes the weight before and after the sieve test was
run. The percentage values were calculated by taking the value in grams divided by the Pre-Sieve
weight, and multiplied by one hundred. This information can help assist in determining error.
Additionally this chart does not include the weight of dust that was collected in the pan.

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Opening (mm)

Mass (g)

% Of Retained
Aggregate

Cumulative % of
Retained
Aggregate

% Finer

No. 4

4.75

697

34.84%

34.84%

65.16%

No. 8

2.36

300

15.00%

49.84%

50.16%

No. 16

1.18

41.5

2.07%

51.91%

48.09%

No. 30

0.6

382

19.10%

71.01%

28.99%

No. 50

0.355

457.5

22.87%

93.88%

6.12%

No. 100

0.15

73

3.65%

97.53%

2.47%

No. 200

0.075

31

1.55%

99.08%

0.92%

18.5

0.92%

100.00%

0.00%

Sieve
Size

Pan

2000.5

70.00%

60.00%
50.00%
40.00%
30.00%
20.00%
10.00%
0.00%
10

0.1

## Figure 1: Grain Size Distribution

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0.01

Figure 1 was created by using the data calculated in Table 1. Figure 1 uses the Opening
(mm) and the % Finer portions of Table 3, it is graphed in logarithmic scale. The % of Retained
Aggregate was calculated by dividing the Weight of Retained Aggregate by the Total Aggregate
Weight. The Cumulative % of Retained Aggregate was calculated by taking the sum of the % of
Retained Aggregate of the sieve and all previous values. The % Finer was calculated by subtracting
the Cumulative % of Retained Aggregate from 100%.
Additional Calculations from Table 3 and Figure 1
Grain diameter at 10% passing: D10 = 0.397
Grain diameter at 30% passing: D30 = 0.631
Grain diameter at 60% passing: D60 = 3.928
Coefficient of Uniformity: Cu = D60/D10 = 9.906
Coefficient of Curvature: Cc = (D30)2/(D60 x D10) = 0.255

1:

+ 0.6 = 0.39
(0.06 0.28)

2:

+ 1.18 = 0.63
(0.28 0.48)

3:

## (0.6 .65) (2.36 4.75)

+ 4.75 = 3.93
(0.50 0.65)

The grain diameter at 10%, 30%, and 60% were calculated using linear interpolation.
Equations 1, 2, and 3 show how linear interpolation was used to calculate each values. The Grain
Diameter values are significant when determining the Coefficient Values. The coefficient values
help to characterize the aggregate.

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Analysis
There are three specific gravities that include Bulk Specific Gravity, Saturated Surface Dry
Specific Gravity, and Apparent Specific Gravity. There are many differences between the three
different types of gravity. The most obvious difference is the way that each specific gravity is
calculated. Table 2 will show the values for the specific gravities and how they were calculated.
Bulk specific gravity is the ratio of the weight of a given volume of aggregate to the weight
of an equal volume of water. This is useful because it can help determine if voids in a material
are permeable. Bulk specific gravity is calculated by taking the sample dry weight divided by the
sample saturated surface dry weight minus the net submerged weight of sample. This is
significant because the bulk specific gravity calculates the mass and includes the dry bulk mass
and volume.
The saturated surface dry specific gravity is calculated by taking the sample saturated
surface dry weight divided by the sample saturated surface dry weight minus the net submerged
weight of sample. This is significant because the gaturated surface dry specific gravity calculates
the voids and includes the mass and net volume of both the aggregate and water.
The apparent specific gravity is calculated by taking the sample dry weight divided by the
sample dry weight minus the net submerged weight of sample. This is significant because the
apparent specific gravity calculates the mass without pours and includes the bulk mass and wet
volume.
Absorption is the weight of water absorbed by dry aggregate particles, this is important in
freezing conditions to help determine how much an object will expand and contract. Our final
absorption rate was 0.599%. This is important to know in an application setting such as creating
a design for a concrete mix. The absorption value must be known in order to accurately adjust
the batch weights to account for the moisture. If the absorption rate is too low then the
aggregates will supply free water to the mix, but if it is too low then it will absorb some of the
water. This is important because the water to cement ratio contributes to its compressive
strength, permeability, and its durability. Its permeability can be very important if a watertight
structure is required or in conditions where water can freeze and thaw.
For this lab, the No. 4 sieve is considered the maximum aggregate size. The nominal maximum
aggregate size is the diameter of the smallest sieve opening through which most of the particles
pass. This amount is usually around 95%, the maximum aggregate size is the diameter of the
smallest sieve opening through which the entire sample passes. Since this lab does not include a
sieve where all or 95% of the sample passes, we will assume that the sieve that allows the most
amount of the aggregate to pass through as the maximum aggregate size. Thus, the No. 4 sieve
is the smallest sieve that allows the most amount of aggregate to pass through.
Our results were not ideal. For example, our cumulative percent was 100.03%, which is
slightly higher than 100%. This value can be shown in Table 2. We can attribute some of our errors
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to both systematic and human error. Systematic error includes the sieves having aggregate stuck
inside of the mesh that could not be freed before the lab took place. These aggregates could have
been freed during the mechanical shaker process or from the brushes. Human error includes not
double checking each sieve to ensure that each one is clean of loose aggregates that could
become part of our sample.
The value for the Coefficient of Uniformity (Cu) is 9.906 and the value for the Coefficient of
Curvature (Cc) is 0.255. If there is a (Cu) value greater than 5 then it typically means that the
sample is well graded, and if there is a (Cu) value that is greater than one but less than three it
typically means that the sample is dense. However, both values must follow these principles for
either to be considered true. Thus, we can conclude that this sample is neither dense nor well
graded. The Coefficients of uniformity and curvature are significant when determining the grade
and density of a material. This is important because determining the properties of an aggregate
can help to determine what uses the aggregate are good for and what needs to be done to the
aggregate so that its conditions are suitable. For example a gap graded aggregate would be a
good material to compact to increase its stability.
The graph can be found in Figure 1 and would classify as gap graded due to the near horizontal
slope at point 1 (2.36, 50.16%) and point 2 (1.18, 48.09%). From the ASTM C136 procedure, we
can see in table 3 that between sieve No. 8 and No. 16 there is very little change, meaning this
aggregate classifies as gap graded and has a blend of both small and relatively large grain sizes.
The aggregate has few voids and low stability, but is easiest to compact with good interlocking.

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Conclusion
In part one of the lab on ASTM C127 Relative Density and Absorption three values were
collected: Sample Dry Weight, Sample Saturated Surface Dry Weight, and New Submerged
Weight. This helped determine four calculated values: Bulk Specific Gravity, Saturated Surface
Dry Specific Gravity, Apparent Specific Gravity, and the Absorption Percentage. It was also found
that Apparent Specific Gravity has the largest value, while Bulk Specific Gravity is less. Apparent
Specific Gravity measures the specific gravity of the solid volume, thus it will have the highest
value. From this, we can conclude that taking different kinds weights of aggregates can be very
important when looking to make a design. For example the specific gravity can be used in
applications such superpave mix design. The absorption percentage is also important in when
doing a concrete mix design. The values retrieved for the specific gravity ranged from
approximately 2.4 to 2.5 specific values can be found in Table 1. In addition, an absorption
percentage of approximately 0.6% was calculated. These values are acceptable for the stone
aggregate in use. Typical Specific Gravity values for crushed stone or gravel usually range from
2.6 to 2.65 our values were very close to this.
In part two of the lab on ASTM C136 Sieve analysis values for each sieve were determined
allowing a Grain Size Distribution Graph to be created. From the Figure 1 and Table 3, values for
D10, D30, D60, could be calculated using linear interpolation. Thus values for C u, and Cc, could be
calculated. From the Sieve analysis, it could be concluded that aggregate used in this lab was
considered gap graded, due to the horizontal slope in the graph as well as the small change in
Percent of passing aggregate between No. 8 and No. 16 sieve. The values for C u, and Cc were 9.9
and 0.25 respectively. Since Table 3 and Figure 1 helped determine that the aggregate was gap
graded, the values for Cu and Cc coordinate with this information. Those values told us that the
material is not well graded or dense.
Recommendations for this lab would include ensuring that the sieves are completely
clean before pouring aggregate into them. This includes clearing out the mesh of each sieve so
that lodged aggregate cannot become a part of the new material. In addition, I think that this lab
could be improved by including another aggregate in the sieve analysis that has a different grade
so that analyzing the Grain Size Distribution Graph and Coefficients can have a deeper meaning
for the lab groups.

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