M-sand - An Innovative Alternative to Natural Sand

(Left) Washed M-sand; (Right) Unwashed M-sand
October 19 , 2015


For years, natural sand has been used in the construction industry as a fine aggregate in the production of concrete and as a building material. However, excessive mining of sand to meet the industry’s increasing demand has caused rapid resource exhaustion and, most pertinently, an ecological imbalance at affected locations. Much research has been undertaken to assess the suitability of quarry dust – a by-product from the crushing stage – as a replacement for natural sand, with positives results. However, recent studies suggest that a cement mix made with a 100% replacement of sand with quarry dust possesses less workability (ease of use and handling) and durability. Thus, quarry dust has been characterised as a possible partial replacement of sand (up to 30%), rather than a solution.

      (Left to Right) M-sand, quarry dust and mining sand

Manufactured sand (M-sand), on the other hand, has been highly regarded in the industry as a like-for-like replacement of natural sand. Concrete mixes utilizing M-sand have shown similar characteristics to mixes using natural sand and, in some cases, exhibit better qualities such as: (i) greater durability and higher strength – contributed by the proper gradation of fines, smooth surface texture and consistency in production of M-Sand which helps overcome deficiencies such as segregation, bleeding, honey combing, etc; (ii) greater workability – M-Sand’s cubical shape with grounded edges and superior gradation gives good plasticity to concrete thus improving workability; (iii) better economic value – as M-Sand does not contain any impurities, wastage and the amount of cement required in concrete mixes is minimised thus reducing overall cost; and (iv) eco-friendly - greatly reduces the need for natural sand use (thus avoiding river dredging and siltation) and the environmental impacts from transportation and logistics, as M-sand is typically manufactured on-site.

M-sand is more angular in shape compared to natural sand and quarry dust

By using M-sand, YTL Cement has taken another step towards building a more sustainable business.

For more information, please visit http://www.ytlcement.com/

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