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Medrano-Martinez, Gerardo

CME 300
Composition and Properties of Concrete

Laboratory No. _1___

Lab Title: Determination of Moisture Content and Bulk
for Fine and Coarse Aggregate

Report Submitted By: Gerardo Medrano-Martinez

Report Submitted To: Masoud Rezaei

Department of Civil and Materials Engineering

University of Illinois at Chicago

Members of group No. G8

Wendy Andonayre (Foreman of the Group)
Gerardo Medrano-Martinez
Ranulfo Cervantes
Mayyada Donley
Due Date: _January_25, 2018____

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The results of the laboratory experiment were consistent except for the moisture content
for the coarse aggregatea.

The concrete mixture involves testing of the materials to collect data and formulate the
best mixture proportions based on aggregate properties found. Aggregates are
commonly found in stockpiles exposed to the weather elements and properties such as
moisture content, and bulk density will vary and should be measured before each
mixture and adjust proportions as needed. Moisture content is of great importance and
should be a property of aggregates to be considered when testing. Moisture content
could add water to the mixture if found to be saturated and wet surface. This extra water
or moisture content could affect the mix significantly as it will add water to the water-
ratio already established. On the contrary, if moisture content found in aggregates is
low, it means the aggregate is dry and unsaturated, an extra water volume should be
added to compensate for such condition. As stated earlier, Bulk density is another
property of aggregate that should be considered to be tested before a concrete mixture.
Bulk density reflects the volume taken up by an aggregate or cement, plus any air that
is trapped in the voids between the aggregate particlesb. An aggregate that has been
compacted will have a bulk density value higher than one that hasn’t.

The objective of the experiment is using the standard methods outlined in the ASTM
C566, and ASTM C29 standards aimed the following. First, to determine the moisture
content for a coarse and fine aggregates of wet (original) and dry (after 24 hours in the
oven) samples. Then to determine the bulk density of dry fine and coarse aggregates
that weighted by being compacted (rodded 20 times in three layers) and loose in a unit
weight measurement of 0.1ft3. It is expected to have a high percentage of moisture in
our sample as we were instructed to take our aggregates from a stockpile that was
saturated. It is anticipated that fine aggregates will have a higher moisture content than
coarse aggregates because there is more surface area in the fine aggregate that will be
carried away. When scooping the material out of the stockpile, it was easier to drain
water from the coarse than the fine aggregate resulting in more liquid adhering to the
fine aggregate.


Materials: Materials: The following materials and apparatus were used in the
completion of both sections of the experiment with small deviations that will explain the
preceding section.
 Determination of Moisture
 Saturated Fine (1 kg) and Coarse (2 kg.) Aggregates

Please, refer to Results and Appendix sections for Numerical values and in-depth description.
Aggregate particles refers to the unit of matter that constitutes that aggregate (grains or rock size)

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 Balance – sensitive to 0.1% of the mass of the sample

 Source of heat – a hot plate, heat lamp, or ventilated oven
 Sample container – metal container large enough to hold the sample without
spilling. An ordinary frying pan is suitable for use with a hot plate; a shallow
flat metal pan is suitable for use with heat lamps or oven
 Stirrer – a metal spoon or spatula for stirring
 Determination of Bulk Density
 Oven dried samples of fine and coarse aggregate thoroughly mixed.
 Balance – accurate to within 0.1% of the mass of the sample to be weighed
 Tamping rod – round, straight, steel rod 16mm (5/8 in) in diameter and
600mm (24 in) long
 Shovel or small scoop
 Unit-weight measure – cylindrical, metal measure with handles, at least 14 L
(0.5ft3) capacity unless aggregate size exceeds 37.5 mm (1.5 in.)
 Furnace capable of maintaining the temperature surrounding the sample at
212° to 230° F

 Determination of Moisture
 Deviations from the ASTM C566 standard procedure are noted as follow: the
samples should have weighted about 15lb. for the coarse aggregate and 10
lb. for the fine aggregate. We were instructed to sample materials of 2 kg (4.4
lb.) and 1 kg (2.2 lb.) and mechanical balances were used instead of digitals
that could have resulted in the moisture content being negative for the coarse
o Methodology
1. Obtain material weight of about 15 lb. of coarse aggregate (in large pan) and
for 10 lb. of fine aggregate (in small pan).
2. Determine the mass of the sample to the nearest 0.1% avoiding loss of
3. Using the available heat source, dry the sample to constant mass, taking care
not to lose any particles. Stir the sample during drying to ensure uniform
4. Determine the mass of the sample in this condition. Record this mass and all
subsequent masses to the nearest 0.5 g

o Report: Calculate total moisture content using Equation 1 as outlined in ASTM

100(𝑊 − 𝐷)
𝑃= 𝐸𝑞𝑢𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 1
P=Percent moisture content of sample
W=mass, in grams (or pounds), of original sample
D= mass, in grams (or pounds), of dried sample

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 Determination of Bulk density

 Deviations from the ASTM C26 standard procedure are noted as follow: as
stated earlier, the scale was a mechanical and could have slightly affected
results, also, the standard method calls for a unit weight of at least 14 L (0.5
ft3) and a 0.1 ft3 was used.
o Methodology for dried samples of fine and coarse aggregate.

 For the compacted sample both fine and coarse aggregate

1. Fill the unit measure in 3 equal volume layers. After filling each layer, level the
material with hands. Then, rod each layer 25 times with the tamping rod
evenly distributing the strokes over the entire surface. Do not let the rod
forcibly strike the bottom of the measure on the first layer.
2. For the second and third layers, allow the rod to just penetrate the previous
3. On the third and final layer, fill the measure to overflowing. After rodding,
strike off the surface using the tamping rod as a straightedge. Level the
surface as evenly as possible. The number of voids should visibly equate with
the number of protrusions above the rim of the measure.
4. Determine the net weight of the aggregate in the measure. Compute the unit
weight of the aggregate by dividing the net weight of the aggregate contained
in the measure by the given volume of the measure.

 For the loose sample both fine and coarse aggregate

1. Fill the measure to overflowing using the shovel or scoop. Do not add the
aggregate from a height of more than 50 mm (2 in.). Care should be taken
not to jar the measure in any way.
2. Determine loose unit weight of aggregate using the same procedure and
calculation as in step 3 above.
o Report: Calculate the Bulk density using Equation 2 as outlined in ASTM C29.

𝑀= 𝐸𝑞𝑢𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 2
M=Unit weight of aggregate (kg/m3 or lb/ft3)
G=mass of aggregate plus the measure (kg or lb.)
D= mass of the measure (kg or lb.)
V=volume of the measure(m3 or ft3)


 Determination of Moisture Content: is found using Equation 1.

 Coarse aggregate:
The moisture content of this material was -0.275%. The negative value
indicates that instead of moisture been evaporated it was added to the
sample. Table 1 illustrates the increase of 0.0055 kg increase after the
sample was dry in the oven and weight was measured.

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 Fine Aggregate:
The moisture content in this material was 5.3%. This value is acceptable
because the sample was taken from a saturated wet surface stockpile. Table
1 illustrates that moisture content of 5.3% translates to a loss of water of
about 0.053 kg. As expected, the moisture content in fine aggregate is higher
than of coarse aggregate.

 Determination of Bulk Density: is found using Equation 2.

 Coarse aggregate:
The bulk density or unit weight for this material was less than of fine
aggregate. The average bulk density for this material is 92.97 lb/ft 3 compare
to 108.45 lb/ft3 for fine aggregate as shown in Table 2. This translates to
about 14% less heavy or dense. This could be understandable if you imagine
the particles of both aggregates in a container, the coarse aggregate will have
more voids resulting in less material being contain in the container. There is
also a significant increase in bulk density from a loose state to a compact or
rodded. To be precise, the increase of bulk density equates to 9.833 lb/ft 3 or
about 10.045%. This value is acceptable because as the material is
compacted, particles of the aggregates are forced into the voids and arrange
in a way where more material can be contained in the container resulting in
an increase of bulk density
 Fine Aggregate:
The bulk density for this material was slightly higher than of coarse
aggregate. This is correct because as the size particle decreases, the void
number decreases resulting in more material in the container. Table 2 shows
the bulk density for the compacted and rodded fine aggregates. A simple
observation is made that the increase of bulk density is minimum about 4.591
lb/ft3 or 0.041%. The slight increase is due that there aren’t many voids to be
fill if compacted because already the voids have been minimized by using an
aggregate with small size particles.


 Determination of Moisture
Moisture content was obtained by the procedure outlined in the ASTM C566. It was
found that 5.3% moisture content was in the fine aggregate(Sand). This high
percentage was because sand might have a high absorption value and retain a
significant amount of water within and in its surface. Another explanation that might
have contributed to the high moisture content was the fact that when the material was
obtained from the stockpile with a scoop, an attempt to drain as much water possible
resulted in being hard because the water was trapped or adhere to the fine aggregate
and resisted to drain out of the scoop. For the crushed stone, the moisture content was
found to be -0.275%. I Believe that the scale used was not sensitive enough to illustrate
the change in weight, and also, we approximated the weight by balancing the scale, and

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human error is possible. Another working theory is that gravel's absorption value might
be minimal and in conjunction sensitivity of the scale, an erroneous result was obtained.
I assume river gravel will have a similar moisture content as crushed stone, because in
similarities of its composition but there was no sample tested in the experiment and
remains the plausible theory.

Moisture content percent of sand, river gravel, and crushed stone in a saturated surface
dry condition also referred to as SSD did not participate in the completion of the
experiment. This moisture content under this condition implies that all of the aggregates'
pores are filled with water, but no water is found in the surface of the aggregate. This
closely resembles the condition that could be found in the field. The experiment used
the method of oven-dry to determine the moisture that was in the sample from the
stockpile. This will unlikely be the scenario in the field because it implies that all
moisture is remove from the aggregate.

As stated earlier, Moisture content plays a key role in the mixing design of concrete.
Moisture content could add water to the mixture if found to be saturated and wet
surface. This extra water or moisture content could affect significant the mixture as it will
add water to the water-ratio already e stablish. On the contrary, if moisture content
found in aggregates is low, meaning is dry, an extra volume should be added to
compensate for such condition.

 Determination of Bulk Density

The Dry unit weight if aggregates such as sand, river gravel, and crushed stone is a little
ambiguous and further information as to the means of the drying process is necessary.
Two different methods are considered. If the aggregates are dry by the oven method,
then all moisture is removed from it. Resulting in a Bulk density that will be at a minimum
because all moisture (water content) is removed and less mass will be on the scale. The
other method process of drying is by air, in this method, the surface of the aggregates is
dry meaning water content that was in the surface is evaporated resulting in a bulk
density slightly higher than by the oven method as water content could be found within
the aggregate particle’s pores.

The unit weight of the aggregates such as sand, river gravel, and crushed stone can be
calculated under SSD condition. Unit weight or commonly refer to as Bulk density is
independent of the state of the aggregate. If a sample under SSD condition is provided,
the unit weight is inversely proportional to the mass of the aggregate and the volume of
the container used. This measurement will be yield results that are optimal because
under this conditions the aggregate will not provide or take off the water of the mixture.
This state should be the standard when performing mixes to avoid any adjustments of
water ratios.

I refuse think unit weight is constant for an aggregate in a given stockpile. Unit weight is
calculated using mass and volume of a container measurements. The mass of an
aggregate that will be contained in a constant volume container will vary. A stockpile will
have particles of aggregates of different sizes. Thus, the unit weight will vary because

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depending on the size of the particles a given sample could have mostly small particles
yielding a high unit weight compared to another sample of an aggregate that could
contain significant size particles producing a lower unit weight. An average unit weight
might be used having in mind there will be a marginal error that results in erroneous
proportions when mixing. In the unlikely scenario where all the particles of an aggregate
are the same size, then there is a high possibility of having a constant unit weight. This
scenario is almost unlikely as aggregates are processed in quarries where equipment
breaks stone[1] down into the desired particle size such as 4” down to 3/8”[2]. There are
inconsistencies in the particle size produce due to erosion or any other weather
elements that weaken the stone resulting in varying sizes.


 Determination of Moisture
• The values obtain and shown in Table 1 for moisture content were acceptable. It
was expected to have a high value because the sample aggregates were taken
from a saturated wet surface stock pile for both fine and coarse aggregates
 Fine aggregate holds a higher moisture content than coarse and Table 1 illustrates
this. The negative moisture content value in coarse aggregate further reinforces
the statement above. The moisture content value in the coarse aggregate must
have to be so small that the scale sensitive might have been very low in
conjunction with human error that the changed was not notable and reflected.
• In addition, the absorption percent was not calculated but sand the fine aggregate
used is commonly known as an absorbent agent. For example, in the automotive
industry, sand is used to absorb liquids such as oil. On the contrary, rocks, the
coarse aggregate is commonly known for its rigid structure and not as an
absorbent agent. In the end, it all boils down to the chemical and structural
properties of the aggregates that affect directly their absorptive properties and the
ability to remove water content found in the sample itself from the stockpile that will
contribute to a given moisture value content.
• Close attention should be focus on fine aggregates as based on the data
presented, their absorption rate is higher and could potentially affect the mix ratios
if not found in a SSD condition

 Determination of Bulk Density

• The bulk density values determined in the experiment are consisted of the
expected values and are shown in Table 1. The key findings are that fine
aggregates are denser than coarse at a constant volume and compacted material
will be denser in comparison to a loose material at a constant volume.
• A common debunked idea, a myth was debunked in the completion of the
experiment. It is common to assume an aggregate that is rugged, bigger will
correlate with being denser at a constant volume. Table 1 shows data that proves
the statement. An average value could be calculated for both fine and coarse
aggregates by adding their unit weights of compacted and loose material and the
total divided by two. The averages are found to be 92.97 lb/ft3 compare to 108.45
lb/ft3 for coarse and fine aggregates respectively. In perspective, the values make

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sense because having a small particle size (fine aggregate) voids are reduced and
more material can be impregnated in the container resulting in a higher bulk
• Compacted values for both aggregates are higher than their loose values
counterparts. These values are produced because more materials are occupying
the voids as they are rodded following ASTM C29 procedures. As a result, higher
values in bulk density are found in the compacted material. However, insignificant
increase is found in fine aggregate that almost is negligible. Voids are already
minimized by using fine aggregates and compacting the material does not increase
the bulk density significantly as voids are minimal and less content can be


Standard Reference:
ASTM C566 Determination of Moisture Content and Fine Coarse Aggregate, ASTM
ASTM C29/ Test Method for Bulk Density (“Unit Weight”), ASTM International
Other References:
“Sedimentary Rocks.” Geology - Rocks and Minerals, 2005,
Braen, Dirk. “Crushed Stone Grades: A Complete Guide.” Braen Stone, 3 May 2017,

100(𝑊 − 𝐷)
𝑃= 𝐸𝑞𝑢𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 1
P=Percent moisture content of sample
W=mass, in grams (or pounds), of original sample
D= mass, in grams (or pounds), of dried sample
𝑀= 𝐸𝑞𝑢𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 2

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M=Unit weight of aggregate (kg/m3 or lb/ft3)

G=mass of aggregate plus the measure (kg or lb.)
D= mass of the measure (kg or lb.)
V=volume of the measure (m3 or ft3)

Table 1

DRIED SAMPLE 2.0055 kg 0.947 kg

Table 2

Aggregate Fine Coarse

Procedure Dry Rodded Dry Loose Dry Rodded Dry Loose
Mass of 6.859 6.640 6.195 5.749
aggregate and
Mass of the 1.825 1.825 1.755 1.755
Mass of the 5.034 4.1815 4.440 3.994
aggregate (kg)
Volume of the 0.1ft3 0.1ft3 0.1ft3 0.1ft3
measure (ft3 0.00283268m3 0.00283268m3 0.00283268m3 0.00283268m3
and m3)
Unit Weight (lb/ 110.743 lb/ft3 106.152 lb/ft3 95.885 lb/ft3 88.052lb/ft3
3 1700.404kg/m3 1567.974kg/m3 1410.470kg/m3
ft3 and kg/m3) 1777.743kg/m

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