How is Aggregate Used in Construction?

jobs in construction
jobs in construction

If you’ve worked for jobs in construction, then at Kilgore Companies, we’re sure you’ve heard of aggregate before. For those new to the term, aggregate refers to any combination of crushed materials that form into a single mass. In construction, aggregate is used for construction and many feats of civil engineering to help build foundations, roads, railways, and much more.

What is Aggregate?

Aggregate can be found in many forms — some of the most commonly used are mixtures of concrete, gravel, sand, clay, and other materials. In other words, the term “aggregate” is pretty broad. Almost all jobs in construction you take on will need it for some step of the building process. Many buildings around the world have foundations that utilize concrete or gravel.

Aggregates can be classified in a number of ways. The overall shape of their components, the size of individual grains, their smoothness, their load-bearing capabilities — etc. Let’s dive into what different types of aggregates are used for.

Examples of Aggregate Types and Their Uses

When organizing aggregates based on the size of their grain, we can see how they’re used in different types of situations.

Fine aggregates such as sand can be used effectively to create thin concrete slabs that will hold steady when bearing loads. These slabs will also have a smoother surface and be much stronger than a thin slab made from larger aggregate combinations. This is due to the individual particles meshing together much more cohesively — the smaller the grains, the more they mold together.

Alternatively, larger-grained aggregates such as gravel are more ideal for uses in roads and pathways that see a lot of foot traffic and go through precipitation. Due to the spaces between gravel, water can more easily drain when collected and therefore cause less internal damage to the overall structure. Of course, there are many more variables, but we hope you’re starting to see the full picture of how many different types of aggregate there are.