An alternative to sand in construction

Manufactured sand offers many benefits such as lesser wastage, higher strength, greater workability, faster delivery and superior finish

Sand is one of the principle ingredients of construction aggregates used for purposes ranging from masonry and plastering to concreting and finishing works. Its composition is highly variable depending on the local sources and conditions. Historically sand has been sourced from alluvial deposits like river beds, sea shores and deep earth pits. Its physical composition emerges in different types like the fine, medium and coarse varieties, based on granular size and shape. However environmental pressures, high costs and shortage of natural sources has necessitated manufacturing of sand from quarried material.

Sumit Rakshit, Executive Director-Corporate Occupier and Investor Services at Cushman & Wakefield, suggests that builders consider the available options for making it easier to tackle the demands in the long run.

Says Mr. Rakshit, “Artificial sand or manufactured sand is fast emerging as the clear alternative for the conventional river sand, a rapidly depleting and excessively mined natural resource essential in supporting the natural hydrological cycle. This non-conventional fine aggregate is manufactured by crushing either granite or basalt rock using a three-stage crushing process under controlled conditions resulting in consistent quality independent of the seasonal fluctuations and inherent impurities.” Unlike conventional sand, says Mr. Rakshit, manufactured sand completely eliminates the presence of silt and organic impurities that otherwise hinder the setting time and compressive strength of structural concrete. Except for some minor variations in different regions of the country, the cost of any artificial sand is comparable to the natural sand – about Rs.34-35 per cubic feet as against Rs.30-36.


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