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Comparing Manufactured Sand v/s River Sand

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M Sand v/s River Sand – Which One? 

Decisions will be yours but there are some facts that one cannot ignore.

We all know by now that one of the vital components of construction works is sand and about 35 % volume of concrete is comprised of sand.  In general, the sand is usually excavated from river beds or the river bank by digging. But constant digging over a longer period of time causes huge depletion of natural sand deposits creating huge damage to the environment whereas production and quality of manufactured sand can be easily controlled and maintained. In case of river sand, there is a chance that the supply of suitable natural sand near the point of consumption can become exhausted, which in turn create a shortage of good natural sand thus effecting concrete production.  Moreover, constant digging from a particular riverbed may result in poor qualities of sand, particularly containing silt. 

Challenge of the construction industry to fill the void which can be created by a shortage of natural sand. Manufactured sand is a far better option for river sand if one considers increasing demand for sand in the construction industry. There are more, every construction work needs special attention while creating concrete, so the choice of fine aggregate, whether it is manufactured or natural sand, can greatly impact the fresh concrete properties of a mixture such as a workability, finishing component etc.

Although, natural sand holds the well-rounded and nearly spherical shape that is ideal for use as fine aggregate in concrete.  Well-shaped natural sands are ideal for the workability of mixtures but the availability of perfectly shaped high-quality natural sand is difficult. Sometimes, a search for good quality of natural sand can waste valuable time and money.

On the other hand, manufactured sand which is otherwise called manufactured fine aggregate (MFA), is produced by reducing larger pieces of aggregate into sand-sized aggregate particles. The process makes sure to produce manufactured sands that is cost-effective yet make the construction work durable and solid. See the key advantages of M Sand in this article.

Comparison Chart of M Sand v/s River Sand

Manufactured Sand

River Sand

The compressive strength of concrete made from manufactured sand is higher than river sand.

Here, concrete made of river sand is low on compressive strength and at the same time weak on flexural strength in comparison to manufactured sand.

The particle passing 75 microns is up to 15% (IS: 383 – 1970)

Particle passing 75 micron  is up to 3% (IS:383 – 1970)

Better quality control since manufactured in a controlled environment.

No control over quality since it is naturally occurring. Same river bed sand can have differences in silt

Presence of over-sized  materials is 0% as it’s manufactured  artificially.

1 – 6% of minimum over sized materials can be expected.

The source of manufactured sand is a quarry. Here, the manufacturing process follows the steps  of crushing rocks, quarry stones or larger aggregate pieces and turn them into sand size particles.

Here, there is no question of manufacture as sand is available on river banks due to its natural formation

No slit content is available in this type of sand

Generally, 3% of slit content is acceptable but anything more than 3% is harmful to the durability of concrete. In river sand, the presence of slit content can be 5 – 20% that too in medium quality.

It does not contain any marine products.

Elements that are harmful to the life of concrete are present in this sand such as  algae, lumps, clay, bones, shells, grass, etc.

It causes less damage to the environment as compared to natural sand.

Digging in river bed makes it harmful to the environment. It reduces the ground water level and rivers water gets dried up.

Chances of adulteration are very less.

Due to acute shortage of River Sand, the chances of adulteration are very high. In coastal areas, river sand adulteration with saline sea sand is a common sight.