What is M-Sand?
Sand is one of the important ingredients in making concrete mortar. The exploitation of river sand from the river beds by large growing construction activities has resulted in the exploration of a substitute material for river sand i.e. Manufactured Sand or M-Sand. M Sand is an eco-friendly and affordable alternative to river sand. M-Sand is manufactured by crushing rocks, quarry stones into sand-sized particles.
Because of its ready availability and reliable strength, M-Sand has quickly found wide usage in the construction industry.
Manufacturing process of M-Sand
M-Sand is manufactured in a three stage process:
Rocks and quarry stones are crushed in jaw crushers, cone crushers and vertical shaft impact crushers respectively leading to the formation of angular and cubical fine aggregate particles.
Screening ensures the material is properly graded that’s similar to river sand.
Washing removes all the micro fine particles. In addition, fine aggregates for concrete and plaster sand are also formed.
Advantages of M-Sand
(i) Wide availability:
M-Sand provides the flexibility of manufacturing nearby construction sites, thus driving down the transportation costs and promising assurance of supply to meet the demanded quantity.
(ii) Denser particle packing:
M-Sand is free of silt and clay particles and has denser particle packing compared to river sand. This ensures lesser impurities and good working properties.
(iii) High strength:
M-Sand trumps river sand with its higher compressive strength, higher flexural strength, better damage resistance, better water retention ability, higher unit weight and lower permeability.
(iv) Better workability:
Due to its superior gradation, M-Sand provides excellent plasticity to the mortar, thus ensuring better workability compared to river sand.
M-Sand provides higher durability, better workability, higher strength, reduction in segregation and permeability, thus proving of its usage as highly economical and a perfect replacement of river sand
Usage of M-Sand refrains exploitation of river beds for river sand, thus preventing environmental catastrophes like water scarcity, ground water depletion etc.
Disadvantages of M-Sand
(i) Low moisture content:
Naturally available river sand has moisture trapped between its particles which is required for good concreting. On the other hand, only water washed M-Sand retains moisture.
(ii) Chances of adulteration:
Due to its high demand, there are instances of M-Sand being adulterated with extraneous materials like quarry dust.
To ensure M-Sand is of the highest quality, it’s strongly advised to put it through a series of quality tests such as –
(a) Adulteration Test
(b) Workability Test
(c) Rebound Test
(d) Slump Cone Test
Which sand provides higher strength and bonding, River Sand or M-Sand? Why?
Natural river sand, during its formation cycle, undergoes a long travel with heavy turbulent motion by water. This results in the surface texture of river sand being smoother and softer. In comparison, M-Sand is manufactured by crushing hard rocks and quarry stones into pieces. Unlike river sand, M-Sand particles retains their roughness like a crystal, and hence provides higher strength and bonding.
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