AGGREGATE

Construction aggregate, or simply "aggregate", is a broad category of coarse particulate material used in construction, including sandgravelcrushed stoneslag, recycled concrete and geosynthetic aggregates. Aggregates are a component of composite materials such as concrete and asphalt concrete; the aggregate serves as reinforcement to add strength to the overall composite material. Due to the relatively high hydraulic conductivity value as compared to most soils, aggregates are widely used in drainage applications such as foundation and french drains, septic drain fields, retaining wall drains, and road side edge drains. Aggregates are also used as base material under foundations, roads, and railroads. To put it another way, aggregates are used as a stable foundation or road/rail base with predictable, uniform properties (e.g. to help prevent differential settling under the road or building), or as a low-cost extender that binds with more expensive cement or asphalt to form concrete. (Additional links provided by wikipedia)

History

Man has used sand and stone for foundations for thousands of years. Significant refinement of the production and use of aggregate occurred during the Roman Empire, which used aggregate to build its vast network of roads and aqueducts. The invention of concrete, which was essential to architecture utilizing arches, created an immediate, permanent demand for construction aggregates.


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