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How are aggregates tested?


To ensure aggregates continually meet the required specification, and thus to ensure the end product is suitable for its intended use, a series of laboratory tests have been devised. A set of British Standards have been established for many years to ensure consistency across the industry and with effect from 1 January 2004 these were combined with standard tests throughout Europe.

Table 1 shows a full list of the tests established by these new European standards, but some of the more commonly used are described below in more detail. The appropriate Standard document should be consulted if the full details of the tests and methods are required.

Testing equipment

  PSV testing equipment

Apparatus for determination of Polished Stone Value (PSV).

Commonly used tests described below are:

Determination of particle size distribution – sieving method
BS EN 933 Part 1

Determination of particle shape – flakiness index
BS EN 933 Part 3

Determination of the resistance to wear (micro-Deval)
BS EN 1097 Part 1

Determination of resistance to fragmentation
BS EN 1097 Part 2

Determination of particle density and water absorption
BS EN 1097 Part 6

Determination of polished stone value
BS EN 1097 Part 8

Magnesium sulphate test
BS EN 1367 Part 2

There are also European standards that specify the range of acceptable values under each test. Aggregates should fall within these ranges to be considered suitable for that use. The relevant standards are:

BS EN 12620 Aggregates for concrete
BS EN 13043 Aggregates for bituminous mixtures and surface treatments
BS EN 13055 Lightweight aggregates
BS EN 13139 Aggregates for mortar
BS EN 13242 Aggregates for unbound and hydraulically bound materials
BS EN 13383 Armourstone
BS EN 13450 Railway ballast

Table 1 : European standard tests for aggregates

BS EN 932 Tests for general properties of aggregates
Part 1 Methods for sampling
Part 2 Methods for reducing laboratory samples
Part 3 Procedure and terminology for simplified petrographic description
Part 5 Common equipment and calibration
Part 6 Definitions for repeatability and reproducibility
BS EN 933 Tests for geometrical properties of aggregates
Part 1 Determination of particle size distribution - sieving method
Part 2 Determination of particle size distribution - test sieves, nominal size of apertures
Part 3 Determination of particle shape - flakiness index
Part 4 Determination of particle shape - shape index
Part 5 Determination of percentage of crushed and broken surfaces in coarse aggregates
Part 6 Assessment of surface characteristics - flow coefficient of aggregates
Part 7 Determination of shell content - percentage of shells in coarse aggregates
Part 8 Assessment of fines - sand equivalent test
Part 9 Assessment of fines - methylene blue test
Part 10 Assessment of fines - grading of fillers (air jet sieving)
BS EN 1097 Tests for mechanical and physical properties of aggregates
art 1 Determination of resistance to wear (micro-Deval)
Part 2 Methods for the determination of resistance to fragmentation
Part 3 Determination of loose bulk density and voids
Part 4 Determination of voids of dry compacted filler
Part 5 Determination of water content by drying in a ventilated oven
Part 6 Determination of particle density and water absorption
Part 7 Determination of the particle density of filler
Part 8 Determination of the polished stone value
Part 9 Determination of the resistance to wear by abrasion from studded tyres - Nordic test
Part 10 Determination of water suction height
BS EN 1367 Tests for thermal and weathering properties of aggregates
Part 1 Determination of resistance to freezing and thawing
Part 2 Magnesium sulphate test
Part 3 Boiling test for "Sonnenbrand" basalt
Part 4 Determination of drying shrinkage
Part 5 Determination of resistance to thermal shock
BS EN 1744 Tests for chemical properties of aggregates
Part 1 Chemical analysis
Part 2 Determination of resistance to alkali reaction
Part 3 Preparation of eluates by leaching of aggregates
Part 4 Determination of susceptibility of fillers for bituminous mixes