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A Review on Artificial Aggregates

Article · July 2012


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Priyadharshini Perumal Mohan Ganesh

Indian Institute of Technology Madras VIT University


Santhi A.S.
VIT University


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ISSN 0974-5904, Volume 05, No. 03 (01) June 2012, P.P. 540-546

A Review on Artificial Aggregates

School of Mechanical and Building Sciences, VIT University, Vellore- 632014, Tamil Nadu, India

Abstract: This paper gives a review on artificial aggregates made out of various waste materials. In the current
scenario, the disposal problem of industrial by-products like fly ash, paper pulp etc., has become an environmental
issue due to the pollution caused. Further, shortage of land to fill these materials also adds up to this issue. Artificial
aggregate can be made out of these materials that are considered waste and pollutants of environment. On the other
side, shortage of natural aggregates in the growing infrastructure industry, creates problem of depleting natural
resources which builds the need for artificial aggregates. Consequently, the production of artificial aggregates solves
two problems, conserves environment from pollution and prevents natural resource from depletion, thereby giving
way to sustainable development. This paper mainly throws light on the manufacturing process, properties and
strength aspects and applicability of these categories of aggregates in civil engineering industry.
Keywords: Light Weight Aggregates, Artificial Aggregates, Waste in Construction, Pelletizing, Aggregate

Introduction: have been discussed briefly. There are numerous light

weight aggregates available commercially which are
Reducing and recycling waste and by products have
obtained through expensive methods of manufacturing.
become the major issue in 21st century. Development of
Also, it depletes the natural resources for its raw
new techniques for managing wastes is one of the major
materials. The best way to avoid this problem is to use
areas of interest of researchers in recent days. This is
the lightweight waste materials as raw material for
due to the need for reusing the materials to avoid
aggregates in concrete. Beyond reducing the overall
exhausting natural resources that are depleted
cost, this also finds a way to utilize this waste material
abundantly with growing population. Due to the impact
that produce environmental problems. Many studies are
of earth quake forces all over the world, the need for
carried out in this area from early 1980’s (Van der
light weight structural design is increasing presently, as
Wegen and Bijen, 1985). Most of the preparation
it reduces mass of the structure. Light weight concrete
methods of artificial aggregates involve sintering
also brings down the overall cost of the building. Light
process that in turn creates the problem of large energy
weight aggregates (LWA) are generally manufactured
usage. Some of the waste materials used as a source
from pumice or volcanic cinders or clays or siliceous
material for artificial aggregates are mining residues,
rocks. Natural aggregates are those that are taken from
heavy metal sludge (Su-Chen Huang et al., 2007),
naturally occurring rocks by breaking and sieving them
marine clay (Laursen et al., 2006), palm shell (Okpala et
in to desired size. The usage of natural aggregates has
al., 1990; Mannan and Ganapathy, 2002; Payam Shafigh
become serious issue, due to the over use of these
et al., 2011), paper sludge (Chin-Tson Liaw et al., 1998;
materials in this developing infrastructure era. Natural
Ahmadi and Al-Khaja, 2001; Garcia et al., 2008), pet
aggregates have density higher than that of light weight
bottles (Yun-Wang Choi et al., 2005), sewage sludge
aggregates. Due to the low density of LWA, it provides
(Cheeseman and Virdi, 2005; Mun, 2007), steel slag
better insulation property and can be used to produce
(Maslehuddin et al., 2003; George Wang, 2010), fly ash
light weight concrete. Light weight aggregate can also
(Bijen, 1986; Peter Neumann et al., 1991; Gokhan
be produced using industrial by-products like heavy
Baykal and Ata Gurhan Doven, 2000; Ramamurthy and
metal sludge, mining residues, palm shell, paper sludge,
Harikrishnan, 2006; Manikandan and Ramamurthy,
pet bottles, sewage sludge, steel slag, bottom ash, fly
2007, 2008; Niyazi Ugur Kockal and Turan Ozturan,
ash, marine clay etc., Various methods used for
2010, 2011a, 2011b; Ioanna Kourti et al., 2010; Verma
producing artificial aggregates from these products and
et al., 1998), bottom ash (Geetha and Ramamurthy,
the properties of the aggregates manufactured are also
2010, 2011; Kim and Lee, 2010) Several works are
discussed below. Here in this paper, some of the
done in fly ash aggregates compared to other artificial
techniques that are used by the researchers to produce
aggregates, may be due to its availability in large
light weight aggregates from waste and by-products
volumes and high quantity of disposal. Coal is used for

#02050326 Copyright ©2012 CAFET-INNOVA TECHNICAL SOCIETY. All rights reserved.


power generation and the residues of which is disposed aggregates are manufactured, to avoid the sintering
as landfills in nearby areas (Bijen, 1986; Manikandan process and it gave comparable results (Bijen, 1986;
and Ramamurthy, 2007). Safe disposal of these residues Niyazi Ugur Kockal and Turan Ozturan, 2010, 2011a,
has become a major problem in most of the countries. 2011b).
Rather than disposal problem, utilization of these
residues in some productive way has become the major
interest of researchers (Peter Neumann et al., 1991; It is the process by which the green pellets are allowed
Manikandan and Ramamurthy, 2007). A Limited to fuse together at high temperatures normally more
utilization of these residues is established worldwide as than 12000C (Su-Chen Huang et al., 2007; Cheeseman
cement replacement material. But, researchers are in and Virdi, 2005; Mun, 2007; Geetha and Ramamurthy,
search of bulk usage of these residues due to availability 2010, 2011; Bijen, 1986, Peter Neumann et al., 1991,
in large volume (Peter Neumann et al., 1991; Gokhan Baykal et al., 2000, Niyazi et al., 2010,
Ramamurthy and Harikrishnan, 2006; Manikandan and Manikandan et al., 2008). In sintering process, high coal
Ramamurthy, 2007). Hence, the fly ash is considered as content is acceptable as it helps the process of sintering
a replacement of natural aggregates in concrete. The (Bijen, 1986). But the high energy requirement makes
production of artificial aggregates from fly ash gained the process undesirable (Peter Neumann et al., 1991;
world attention due to the reducing resources of natural Gokhan Baykal and Ata Gurhan Doven, 2000). But, the
aggregates caused by the growing infrastructure properties of aggregates produced by sintering process,
development. shows better durability properties like corrosion
resistance, permeability (Niyazi Ugur Kockal and Turan
Artificial Aggregates:
Ozturan, 2010, 2011a, 2011b).
Chemical Composition:
The chemical compositions of some of the waste
This process involves addition of some chemical like
materials that can be used as a raw material for artificial
cement, lime or gypsum in agglomeration stage. This
aggregates are given in Table 1. In most of the
induces bonding property in the material. The green
materials, silica is the major component that imparts
pellets are then cured in pressurised saturated steam at a
strength to concrete and activates pozzolanic reaction by
temperature of 1400C. This process helps in reducing
helping in the formation of calcium-silicate-hydrate gel.
bonding material in pellet formation and curing time
Methods of Manufacturing: (Bijen, 1986). But the strength and durability properties
does not show much difference compared to normal
Various methods are adopted for producing different
curing (Manikandan and Ramamurthy, 2008).
artificial aggregates of varied sources are shown in
Table 2. For any method, the main aim is to Cold Bonding:
agglomerate the powdered raw waste material into some
It is the process of normal water curing at ordinary room
specific desired size that can be used as aggregate in
temperature (Bijen, 1986). This process helps avoiding
required application. Various agglomeration techniques
energy utilization as in case of other two methods.
has been well explained by Bijen, 1986. But this
Niyazi Ugur Kockal et al. says that cold bonded
technique is not needed in case of waste products, if
aggregate shows poor properties compared to sintered
they occur in the size of an aggregate like palm shell
aggregates (Niyazi Ugur Kockal and Turan Ozturan,
(Payam Shafigh et al., 2011). After the process of
2010, 2011a, 2011b). But in contrary, Manikandan et al.
agglomeration through pelletization (Bijen, 1986;
says when curing time is increased, the aggregate
Gokhan Baykal and Ata Gurhan Doven, 2000; Geetha
properties are comparable with autoclaving and steam
and Ramamurthy, 2010, 2011; Cheeseman and Virdi,
curing (Manikandan and Ramamurthy, 2008).
2005; Mun, 2007; Chin-Tson Liaw et al., 1998; Su-
Chen Huang et al., 2007), the fresh pellets need to Experiments on Aggregates:
undergo post-processing to attain strength, so as to be
The chemical composition of aggregates is found using
used as aggregate in concrete. There are different post-
techniques like ICP-AES (inductively coupled plasma
processing techniques for fly ash aggregates which
optical emission spectroscopy) (Su-Chen Huang et al.,
includes, sintering, autoclaving and cold bonding.
2007), XRF (X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy) (Laursen
Sintering causes many drawbacks like higher
et al., 2006),EDAX (Garcia et al., 2008) and XRD (X-
manufacturing cost, as it involves the usage of
ray Diffraction spectroscopy) used for crystalline study
expensive energy (Gokhan Baykal and Ata Gurhan
of aggregates (Cheeseman and Virdi, 2005).
Doven, 2000). As a result, cold bonded fly ash

International Journal of Earth Sciences and Engineering

ISSN 0974-5904, Vol. 05, No. 03 (01), June 2012, pp. 540-546
542 A Review on Artificial Aggregates

Table 1: Chemical Composition of Source Materials.

Mining Marine Palm Sewage Bottom
Oxide (%) Metal Paper sludge Steel slag Fly ash
residues clay shell sludge Ash
SiO2 45.1 56.3 55.8 18.47 18.01-38.6 52 1-18.1 53.68
Al2O3 13 14.4 12.4 4.27 10.14-51.92 20.94 2.4-3 18.91
Fe2O3 4.8 6.8 3.3 2.06 0.55-3.17 8.98 89 7.7
CaO 19.6 5.1 2.77 64.09 4.38-19.82 4.06 35.1-40.6 1.24
MgO 0.9 4.2 0.83 2.08 2.93-3.27 2.21 8.8-11.3 0.48
SO3 - - 1.75 4.25 0.33 - - 0.19
Na2O 2.1 1.4 0.43 - 0.25 1.3 0.07-0.14 0.7
K2O 1.2 1.6 1.22 0.28 0.21 3.11 - 0.1-2.76 -
P2O5 - - - 0.07 0.1 5.31 0.51-0.74 0.49 -
TiO2 - - 0.49 - 0.26 0.94 0.8 -
Cl - - 0.14 0.015 0.04 - 0.006 0.0114 -
LOI - - 20.5 1.41 47.62-70.26 - - 8.35
CaCO3 - - - - - - 10 - -
Moisture - - - - 73.07-77.73 83.08 - - -
Carbon - - - - - - - - 5.51
Toxicity characteristics of aggregates are studied in 3. Other properties like crushing strength, impact value,
various works using NIEA R201.13C-Toxicity and abrasion value are particularly carried out when the
Characteristic Leaching Procedure adopted in Taiwan aggregates are used as highway materials.
(Su-Chen Huang et al., 2007; Laursen et al., 2006;
The crushing load of individual aggregate pellets are
Chin-Tson Liaw et al., 1998). Other procedures framed
found by placing them between two parallel plates and
by US-EPA (Laursen et al., 2006; Mun, 2007) and
crushed under diametrical load (Cheeseman and Virdi,
Korean Standards (Mun, 2007) are also used to find the
2005; Niyazi Ugur Kockal and Turan Ozturan, 2010,
leachates from aggregates produced using waste
2011a, 2011b; Ioanna Kourti et al., 2010). The crushing
force is given by
The key physical properties of aggregates like bulk
σ = 2.8P/πX2
density, specific gravity, Unit weight, porosity and
water absorption are considered important for the Where, P is the fracture load and X is the distance
manufactured aggregates. Procedures for finding these between loading points. Average of 20 pellets of 10mm
properties are given in various standards; those that size is taken as the strength of the aggregate.
have been followed in referred works are given in Table

International Journal of Earth Sciences and Engineering

ISSN 0974-5904, Vol. 05, No. 03 (01), June 2012, pp. 540-546

International Journal of Earth Sciences and Engineering

ISSN 0974-5904, Vol. 05, No. 03 (01), June 2012, pp. 540-546
544 A Review on Artificial Aggregates

Table 3: Specification for Properties of Aggregates 4.Main application of artificial aggregates is for
producing light weight concrete. This is because of the
Properties Specification
very low density of the source material. Paper sludge
ASTM C 29/ KS aggregate is used as masonry material and the
Bulk density
F 2503 replacement percentage is up to 10% (Ahmadi and Al-
Unit weight ASTM C 29 Khaja, 2001). Aggregate made from steel slag is
Specific gravity & water considered for asphalt concrete and replaced for about
ASTM C 127/ KS F 2503
absorption 65% (Maslehuddin et al., 2003). Palm shell aggregate
Porosity ASTM C 1202 has been replaced for 100% of coarse aggregate and it is
Sieve analysis ASTM C 136/ BS 812 used in structural application (Okpala et al., 1990;
Grading BS 3797 Mannan and Ganapathy, 2002; Payam Shafigh et al.,
Crushing strength BS 812/ KS F 2541 2011).One step ahead to it, bottom ash aggregate is
Impact value KS F 2581/ suggested for high strength concrete and replaced for
Abrasion Value ASTM C 131/ KS F 2508 fine and coarse aggregate for replacement percentage of
soundness ASTM C 88 100% (Kim and Lee, 2010). Fly ash aggregates are
widely used in many applications, mainly as light
Microscopic Studies: weight aggregates in concrete. Thus, materials that are
Microscopic study of aggregates are carried out using considered waste, found a useful application and
Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) analysis become a solution for a growing problem of aggregate
(Cheeseman and Virdi, 2005; Ramamurthy and shortage in this infra-structure era. The fly ash
Harikrishnan, 2006; Su-Chen Huang et al., 2007), by aggregates can be used in various applications like
which the fractured surface of aggregates are studied. masonry blocks for high rise buildings, wall panels for
The pores formed in the aggregate while manufacturing multi-storey buildings, roof insulation material, even for
the artificial aggregates are well analysed using load bearing structural elements. With proper research,
microscopic studies. The pozzolonic property can be the application of artificial aggregates can be increased
seen by the formation of CSH gel while analysing the in construction industries. As it is an energy efficient
XRD pattern of formed aggregates. Experiments on green material, it has wide application in construction
aggregates should be conducted based on their industries. By which large quantity of industrial wastes
applicability in various fields. can be utilized, thereby protecting environment from
pollution and helping in conservation of natural
Properties and Applications: resources from depletion for aggregate source.
Artificial aggregates made out of the waste products Conclusions:
above generally have different properties based on their
source material, binder properties, method of This paper has attempted to cover a wide range of
manufacturing etc.,. The shape and texture of aggregate information so that the reader can better understand the
affects the fresh property of the concrete. Rounded various possibilities of manufacturing artificial
aggregates promote workability of concrete while the aggregates from different waste including mining
angular nature of natural gravel gives a better bonding residues, heavy metal sludge, marine clay, palm shell,
property but requires more cement mortar for better paper sludge, pet bottles, sewage sludge, steel slag, fly
workability. Well graded aggregate makes the cement ash, bottom ash etc., Understanding the various process
paste consumption lesser, thereby reduces the cost of involved in manufacturing provides a worthy
concrete. These can be achieved by reduced void ratio knowledge to think of using available materials as an
thereby reduces the amount of paste required to fill the alternate for aggregates in concrete. The reported work
voids. But on the other side, the reductions in voids serves as an example for developing similar kind of
affect the workability of concrete. This should be materials using locally available various other materials.
properly studied before designing the grading of Though, the properties of artificial aggregates mainly
aggregates to be used in concrete. The aggregate made depend on its source material. But each of them has
from steel slag has high specific gravity of 3.51 whereas their specific application and usage in construction
for other aggregates ranges between 1.12 - 1.64. Bulk industry. The obtained aggregates can be considered for
density is very high for aggregates made out of sewage various applications like wall panels, masonry blocks,
sludge. Water absorption is the main concern when it roof insulation material, structural load bearing
comes to artificial aggregates, as it is high for most of elements etc., based on their obtained properties.
these aggregates. This can be controlled by adding
suitable binder depending on the source material. The There should be a greater importance on the
properties of the aggregates produced are given in Table development of new technology for methodology to

International Journal of Earth Sciences and Engineering

ISSN 0974-5904, Vol. 05, No. 03 (01), June 2012, pp. 540-546

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International Journal of Earth Sciences and Engineering

ISSN 0974-5904, Vol. 05, No. 03 (01), June 2012, pp. 540-546

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