Manufactured Sand An Alternative for Natural Sand

Sand is widely used in construction, often providing strength, bulk, and stability to material like concrete, mortar, asphalt, and cement. Sand can be mixed with lime or cement to create high-quality mortar for plaster and for joining bricks or stones. Sand is also used with coarse aggregates and cement to create concrete. Construction workers also use sand together with lime or cement to make screed for flooring.

Owing to rapid urbanisation and large-scale construction activities, the demand for sand has increased tremendously. However, sand scarcity is a problem affecting many countries, including India. With natural sand, which is found in riverbeds and coastal regions, becoming inadequate to meet the huge demand and the environmental impact caused due to sand extraction from natural sources, M-sand or manufactured sand has emerged as a sustainable option.

M-sand is a form of artificial sand, manufactured by crushing large hard stones, mainly rocks or granite, into fine particles, which is then washed and finely graded to as a construction material. It is widely used as a substitute for river sand for construction purposes, mostly in the production of concrete and mortar mix.

Manufactured Sand is produced by feeding hard stones of varying sizes to primary and secondary crushers (Jaw crusher and Cone crusher), for size reduction and these crushed stones are further crushed in Vertical Shaft Impact (VSI) crusher to reduce the particle size to that of sand. The VSI crusher by its unique design and action of attrition produces well shaped fine aggregate particles that are cubical and angular. The process of attrition also enables the reduction of surface roughness of the fine aggregate particles to some extent.

From the VSI stage, the sand has to further go through different stages of screening for proper grading ensuring better particle size distribution and process of elaborate washing to remove dust and flaky particles. The washing facility also keeps the manufactured sand in wet or partially wet condition. This helps to reduce the water absorption rate by manufactured sand during concrete manufacturing and hence better workability and workability retention.

M-sand brings in better economies for business, by replacing the cost in effective river sand; it provides better concrete quality compared to concrete produces using river sand or crushed stone dust; reduces concrete production cost by saving approximately 20 per cent cement consumption, and also saves cost on water and admixtures. Plastering quality is far better and does not produce cracks with the use of washed masonry sand (fine sand). Moreover, the gradation in M-sand is far superior, thus the consumption of cement and water is relatively lower. M-sand enhances the strength and durability of the casting produced.