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1.1 Background
The construction industry is by no doubt the most vibrant and dynamic industry in most economies in the
world today. Population growth has led to an increased demand in housing and better infrastructure, hence
higher demand for building materials. With this demand, the use of concrete has become almost inevitable in
the building process.
Concrete is "artificial" stone made from mixing cement and aggregates with water. The cost of concrete
however has been on a constant rise due to the increasing cost of its components. One reason for this
persistent rise is the high cost of transport of those components from the source.
It has also worsened environmental degradation. Since continued use poses serious problems with respect to
its availability, cost and environmental impact, engineers have come up with and recommend alternative
aggregates which are cheaper than the conventional ones. After intensive investigation through interview, we
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opted to try quarry rock sand as an alternative to partially substitute river sand since it is commonly
considered as waste product in quarries. This use will not only make rock sand a main and cheaper
component of concrete, but also serve to dispose it off quarries reducing the hazardous impact of it as waste.
Rock sand will therefore be used to substitute river sand in concrete mix to check if the composition can
improve mechanical properties of the concrete, have a better compressive strength, flexural strength and
tensile strength.
1.2 Problem Statement
Sand is becoming an expensive commodity thus increasing the cost of production and its harvesting is
detrimental to the environment and undisposed rock sand is also detrimental to the environment, hence the
need for an all-encompassing solution. The use of quarry rock sand partially as an aggregate will reduce cost
of construction and solve the problem of its pollution of the environment.
Utilization of locally available rock sand in concrete production will minimize the presence of impurities
that are habitually found in river or natural sand and therefore cases of low comprehensive strength in
concrete as a result of poor quality of natural sand due to impurities will be minimized by a considerable
In areas of high altitude and agricultural practice, soil erosion carries silt, clay and organic matter to the river
basin. These are impurities which mix with the natural river sand and render its silt content too high to
conform to standard construction specifications. As a remedy to this, the provision of alternative fine
aggregates for the use of rock sand partially mixed with river sand in varied proportions are suggested in the
table (1) below.



The importance of the proposed study lies in the fact that cost of sand has and will continue increasing. First
of all, the sources of sand are limited against a growing population and a very fast growing construction

industry making sand scarce and expensive. The material itself is harvested from river beds which cause
degradation of rivers such as deepening of rivers and the enlargement of river mouths and coastal inlets even
posing displacement and health hazards to inhabitants of those areas. Sand harvesting also generates extra
vehicle traffic which negatively impairs the environment. Sand miners have been buried alive in sand mines,
and it is hard to reclaim land from which sand has been mined as it is rendered unproductive and unsafe to
live on. Also crushed rock particles/by-products is blown by wind thereby settling on plants, building roofs
and inhaled by human beings and animals hence the need to manage the crushed rock sand {dust} to prevent
its negative impact on the environment.
What is therefore needed is to find a way of making concrete using rock sand which is a waste product and
of low commercial value to provide concrete with equivalent or improved physical properties to replace
concrete made from conventional sand. This would make rock sand as fine aggregate a viable alternative.
If this is done, then the whole process could relatively become cheaper especially in developing countries
where there is high input in road construction at the moment. The result would be great saving on the
amount of rock sand used and thus cut down the construction cost and environmental degradation in the long
1.4.1 General objective
To investigate the strength of concrete containing partially mixed ratios of igneous rock sand and river sand
as fine aggregates as stated in table (1).
1.4.2 Specific objectives

To analyze the compressive strength of the concrete cubes.

To analyze the tensile strength of the concrete.
To investigate and compare the flexural strength of the concrete mixes

1.5 Hypothesis
Rock sand effect on concrete mixes is different from that of river sand.
Use of igneous rock sand partially mixed with river sand makes more economical concrete mixes
thus making construction cheaper.


The aim of any engineering project carried out is to lower the costs at the end of its implementation .
Research has been carried out to find out suitable means of construction cost reduction while maintaining
the structural integrity of the system within acceptable standards.
The research material in this study will include reports, library journals, which are all available from the
internet, and text books.
Prior Research
Research was carried out by following the proper methods for testing concrete materials on their strength
properties compressive strength, tensile strength and flexural strength among others, after using various
dosage percentages of rock sand to cement samples. The findings were that rock sand had substantial impact
on strength and impact on the concrete properties though not well defined as to how much. (AM NEVILLE,
2.1 Concrete as an Engineering Material
Concrete is a composite construction material made of cementious material, aggregate, and water. Concrete
solidifies and hardens after mixing with water and placement due to a chemical process known as hydration.
The water reacts with the cement which bonds the other components together, eventually creating a robust
stone like material.
2.2 Constituents of Concrete
2.2.1 Cement
Portland cement is the most common type of cement in general usage It is a basic ingredient of concrete,
mortar and plaster, English masonry worker Joseph Aspdin patented Portland cement in 1824; it was named
because of its similarity in color to Portland limestone, quarried from the English Isle of Portland and used
extensively in London architecture, It consists of a mixture of oxides of calcium, silicon and aluminum.
Portland cement and similar materials are made by heating limestone (a source of calcium) with clay and
grinding this product (called clinker) with a source of sulfate (most commonly gypsum).
2.2.2 Water
Combining water with cementious material forms a cement paste by the process of hydration. The cement
paste glues the aggregate together, fills the voids within it and allows it to flow more freely.

Less water in the cement paste will yield a stronger, more durable concrete; more water will give a freeflowing concrete with a higher slump. Impure water used to make concrete can cause problems when setting
or in causing premature failure of the structure.
Hydration involves many different reactions, often occurring simultaneously. As the reactions occur, the
products of the cement hydration process gradually bond together the individual sand and gravel particles
and other components of the concrete, to form a solid mass.
Reaction: Cement chemist notation: C,S + H
Standard notation: Ca3 SiO5 + H2O (Ca0)-(SiO 2 ) (H2 0)(gel) + Ca(OH)2
Balanced:2Ca3 Sio3 + 7H2O 3(CaO) 2(SiO 2) 4(H2O)(H2O)(gel) +3Ca(OH)2
2.2.3 Aggregates

Aggregates make up the bulk of a concrete mixture about 6.0 to 7.0 percent of the total volume. They
are inert granular materials such as sand, gravel or crushed stone. For a good concrete mix the
aggregates need to be clean, hard, strong particles free of absorbed chemicals or coatings of clay and
other fine material that could cause the deterioration of concrete. The compressive aggregate strength
is an important factor in the selection of aggregate.

Aggregate is classified as two different types, coarse and fine. Coarse aggregate is usually greater
than 4.75 mm (retained on a No. 4 sieve), while fine aggregate is less than 4.75 mm (passing through
the No. 4 sieve).

Sand, natural gravel and crushed stone are the materials mainly used for this purpose. Recycled
aggregates (from construction, demolition and excavation waste) are increasingly used as partial
replacements of natural aggregates including air cooled blast. Furnace and bottom ash are also

Decorative stones such as quartzite, Small River monks or crushed glass added to the surface of
concrete for a decorative "exposed aggregate" finish, are sometimes popular among landscape

The presence of aggregate greatly increases the robustness of concrete above that of cement, which is
otherwise, a less brittle material. Concrete is a true composite material.

Redistribution of aggregates after compaction often creates in homogeneity due to the influence of

vibration. This can lead to strength gradients.

Rock sand is classified as a fine aggregate and can be defined as residue or other non-valuable waste
material after the extraction and processing of fine particles less than 4.75mm. Usually, rock sand is
used in large scale in the highways as a surface finishing material and for manufacturing of hollow
blocks and lightweight prefabricated concrete elements. Use of rock sand as a fine aggregate in
concrete draws serious attention to research and in investigators changing properties of quarry dust

depending on the source.

For this project I chose the mechanized quarries in Mlolongo (aristocrats) as my specific source of

Physical and chemical properties of igneous rock sand and river sand (table 2 )
Specific gravity
Bulk relative density (kg/m2)
Absorption (%)
Moisture content (%)
Fine particles less than

Igneous rock dust


Natural river sand


0.075mm (%)
Table 3: Physical properties of igneous rock sand and natural river sand
SiO2(silicone oxide)

Quarry rock dust (%)


Natural sand (%)


Loss of ignition



For this research one has to perform various tasks in order to come up with reliable data and these tasks

Obtaining samples of fine aggregates

a) Natural sand
b) Quarry fines


Gradation of the fines and coarse aggregates


Carry out specific gravity test on both samples


Prepare samples to be used for determination of;

a) Compressive strength
b) Tensile strength


Slump test upon which it will be maintained constant.

Cubes of 150x150x150 and cylinder of 150mm diameter and 300mm diameter Control mix i.e.
of natural sand used.


3.2.1 Properties of a good aggregate

(i) Particle shape and Texture

The shape and surface texture of aggregates influence considerably the strength of concrete , especially the
flexural strength. This is because they both influence the bonding between the aggregate and the cement
paste. A rougher texture surface such as those of crushed particles results in greater adhesion between the
particles in the cement matrix. Smooth surfaced particles have very poor bond giving concrete of lower
strength. Shape of aggregate can be depicted as regular, irregular, angular, rounded or flaky. Surface

texture is described as smooth or rough. The shape and surface texture of aggregate especially those of
fine aggregates have a strong influence on the water requirement for the mix. If these particles are
expressed indirectly by their packing i.e. by the percentage voids in a loose condition, the water
requirement is quite definite. More water is required when there is a greater void content of the loosely
packed aggregate. Flakiness and the shape of coarse aggregate have an appreciable effect on the workability
of concrete. An increase in angularity of aggregate from minimum to maximum would reduce the
compacting factor of fresh concrete considerably (Kaplans paper).
(ii) Toughness and Hardness
Toughness is defined as the resistance of an aggregate to failure by impact. Usually, the Aggregate Impact
Value (AIV) of the bulk aggregate is determined and related to the Aggregate Crushing Value (ACV). The
impact is provided by a standard plunger falling 15 times under its own weight upon aggregates in a
cylindrical container. This results in fragmentation similar to those produced by the plunger in the
crushing value test. Hardness is the resistance of the aggregate to wear. Hardness is an important
property of concrete used especially in roads and floor surfaces subjected to heavy traffic. Toughness and
hardness contribute to the strength and durability of concrete.
(iii) Cleanliness and deleterious substances
Organic impurities: The aggregates to be used should be clean and free from any organic impurities which
may interfere with the chemical reactions of hydration. The organic matter found in aggregate usually
consists of products of decay of vegetable matter appearing in form of humus or organic loam. Such
materials more are likely to be found in sand than in coarse aggregates. Fine aggregates should be
washed to remove organic impurities. Silt, clay and other fine materials also interfere with the bond
between aggregate and cement paste. Since a good bond is essential to ensure satisfactory strength and
durability of concrete, the presence of clay and silt coatings must be addressed. Silt and fine dust may form
coatings or may be present in form of loose particles not bonded to the coarse aggregate. Silt and fine
dust should not be present in excessive quantities because owing to their fineness and therefore large
surface area, there will be an increase in the amount of water necessary to wet all the particles in the

mix thus lowering the strength of concrete. Washing of the aggregates removes these impurities. Even so,
washing should not be so thorough that it removes the finest passing BS 410 sieve of 300m. A
deficiency of these fines leads to harshness in the mix.
The aggregates should not contain chemical salts such as sulphate and chloride salts at alarming levels.
These salts impair the process of hydration of cement. Another common deleterious chemical reaction of
great concern in concrete between the aggregate and the surrounding cement paste is that between the
active silica constituents of aggregates and the alkalis in cement. The reaction starts with the attack on the
siliceous minerals in the aggregates by alkaline hydroxides derived from the alkalis sodium oxide Na2O
and potassium oxide K2O in the cement. As a result an alkali - silicate gel is formed and alteration of the
borders of the aggregate takes place. The gel imbibes water with a tendency increase in volume.
Since the gel is confined by the surrounding cement paste, internal pressures result leading to expansion,
cracking and disruption of the cement paste. It is believed that the swelling of the hard aggregate
particles is the most harmful in concrete. Another type of deleterious aggregate reaction is that


in dolomitic limestone aggregates and alkalis in cement. All these deleterious

chemical reactions between aggregates, chemical constituents and alkalis in cement are commonly
referred to as Alkali Aggregate Reactions (AAR). Aggregates chemical tests such as Sodium Sulphate
Soundness (SSS) should be done to establish the suitability/soundness of aggregate and its chemical
(iv) Sieve Analysis and Grading
This is the process of screening a sample of aggregate into size fractions each consisting of particles of
the same range size i.e. particle size distribution. Sieve analysis is done by passing the dried aggregate
through a series of standard test sieves beginning with the one sufficiently coarse to pass all the
material. The diameters of test sieves and mesh apertures are given in BS 410: 1976.
Having completed the sieving, the weights of aggregate retained in each sieve in turn are recorded. The
weights and percentages of aggregate passing each test sieve are then computed. The results of sieve
analysis are represented graphically in charts known as grading curves/charts. By using these charts, it is

possible to see at a glance if the grading of a given sample conforms to that specified or it is too fine or
coarse or deficient on a particular size. In the curves, the ordinates represent cumulative percentages
passing and the abscissa the sieve sizes plotted in a logarithm scale.
Grading is necessary as it affects the workability of concrete. The development of strength corresponding to
a given water/cement ratio requires full compaction and this can only be achieved with a sufficiently
workable mix. It is necessary to produce a mix that can be compacted to a maximum density with a
reasonable amount of work. The main factors governing the desired aggregate grading are;
a. Surface area of aggregate - This determines the amount of water necessary to
wet all the solids/particles.
b. The relative volume occupied by the aggregate.
c. The workability of the mix - The aggregate must contain a sufficient amount of
material passing 300mm sieve to improve workability.
d. The tendency to segregation - It is essential for the voids in the combined aggregate to be
sufficiently small to prevent the cement paste from passing through and separating out.
3.3.1 Determination of specific gravity of fine aggregates.
This method is used to determine the specific gravity of fine aggregates after sieving through sieve
1. Density bottle of approximately 50ml capacity.
2. A vacuum desiccators or water bath.
3. Drying oven
4. A balance readable and accurate to 0.001gms.
5. Vacuum pump, (if vacuum desiccators is to be used).
6. A glass rod.
7. A wash bottle.

1. Weigh the oven dried bottle to the nearest 0.001 grams (W1).
2. Take about 15 grams of oven dried sample and sieved through B.S Sieve
No.7. Put it in the density bottle and weigh to the nearest 0.001 grams (W2).
3. Add air free distilled water or paraffin just to cover the sample. Place it in the vacuum desiccators
or water bath to evacuate the air. The bottle shall remain in the desiccators until no further air is
released from the sample.
4. The bottle and contents shall then be removed from the desiccators and air free liquid added until
the bottle is full. Insert the stopper and weigh the bottle with contents to the nearest 0.001 grams.(W3).
5. The bottle shall then be completely cleaned and filled with air free liquid, and stopper inserted.
Wipe dry the bottle and weigh it to the nearest 0.001 grams (W4).
The specific gravity of the sample (GS) shall be calculated from the following formula.

GS =

(W2 - W1)
(W4 - W1) - (W3 W)

3.3.2 Particle size distribution (BS: 812:PART1:1975)

This test consists of dividing up and separating by means of a series of test sieves material into several
particle size classifications of decreasing sizes. The mass of the particles retained on the various sieves is
related to the initial mass of the material. The cumulative percentages passing each sieve are reported
in numerical and graphical form.
(i). To determine the particle size distribution of specified aggregates.
(ii).To draw grading curves for the aggregates specified. Procedure
1. The test sieves were arranged from top to bottom in order of decreasing aperture sizes with pan and lid

to form a sieving column.

2. The aggregate sample was then poured into the sieving column and shaken thoroughly manually.
3. The sieves were removed one by one starting with the largest aperture sizes (top most), and each sieve
shaken manually ensuring no material is lost. All the material which passed each sieve was returned into
the column before continuing with the operation with that sieve.
4. The retained material was weighed for the sieve with the largest aperture size and its weight recorded.
5. The same operation was carried out for all the sieves in the column and their weights recorded.
6. The screened material that remained in the pan was weighed and its weight recorded.
1) Various masses were recorded on a test data sheet.
2) Mass retained on each sieve was calculated as a percentage of the original dry mass.
3) The cumulative percentage of the original dry mass passing each sieve down to the smallest aperture
sieve was calculated.
3.4.1 Slump test (BS 1881: PART 102)
The slump test is the most well-known and widely used test method to characterize the Workability of
fresh concrete. The inexpensive test, which measures consistency of concrete batch mixes, went as follows;
1. Truncated conical mould 100 mm diameters at the top, 200mm diameter at the bottom and
300mmm high.
2. Steel tamping rod 16mm diameter and 600mm long with ends hemispherical.
The slump test is carried on the design mixes. The standard slump cone with a base plate was used. The
inside of the mould was cleaned and oiled before the test and the mould made to stand on a smooth hard
surface. The mould was held down using the feet rested on the foot rests, and the mould filled in three
layers of approximately equal sizes. Each layer was then tamped with 25 strokes using tamping rod and

the strokes being uniformly distributed over the cross-section of the layer. The surface was smoothened
using the trowel, and the surface of the cone and base plate wiped clean. The cone was then lifted
vertically upright and the slump measured for each sample design.
3.4.2 Compaction factor test
The compaction factor is obtained by passing the mix through an arranged system where the mix falls
through the apparatus and is compacted by gravity as it falls from one level to another surface is leveled and
the weights taken. The mix is further compacted in a vibrating table, filled and leveled, the new weight
taken, and the compaction factor obtained as the ratio of the weight of the non compacted mix divided by
the compacted weight of the same sample.
3.5.1 Determination of compressive strength - cube test to (BS: 1881: PART 16; 1983)
A. Casting of cubes
The specimens were cast in iron moulds generally 150mm cubes. This conforms to the specifications of
BS 1881 - 3:1970. The mould surfaces were first cleaned and oiled on their inside surfaces in order to
prevent development of bond between the mould and the concrete. The moulds were then assembled
and bolts and nuts tightened to prevent leakage of cement paste. After preparing trial mixes, the moulds
were filled with concrete in three layers, each layer being compacted using a poker vibrator to remove as
much entrapped air as possible and to produce full compaction of concrete without segregation. The moulds
were filled to overflowing limits and excess concrete removed by the sawing action of steel rule. Surface
finishing was then done by means of a trowel. The test specimens were left in the moulds undisturbed for
24 hours and protected against shock, vibration and dehydration at a temperature of 20 30C.

B. Curing of cubes
Curing may be defined as the procedure used for promoting the hydration of cement, and consists of a
control of temperature and moisture movement from and into the concrete. The objective of curing is to
keep concrete as nearly saturated as possible, until the originally water - filled space in the fresh cement
is eliminated.

Paste was filled to the desired extent by the products of hydration of cement. The temperature during
curing also controls the rate of progress of the reactions of hydration and consequently affects the
development of strength of concrete. The cubes were placed in a curing pond/tank at a temperature of
20 20C for the specified period of time. Before placing cubes into a curing tank they were marked
with a water proof marker. Details to be marked on the cubes were; type of mix, date of casting, duration
for curing and crushing day.
C. Compressive Test
After curing the cubes for the specified period, they were removed and wiped to remove surface
moisture in readiness for compression test. The cubes were placed with the cast faces in contact with the
platens of the testing machine. The position of the cube when tested should be at right angles to that as
The load was applied at a constant rate of stress of approximately 15 N/mm2 to failure. The readings on
the dial gauge were then recorded for each cube. The crushing strength is influenced by a number of
factors in addition to the water/cement ratio and degree of compaction. These are;
a. The type of cement and its quality- Both the rate of strength gain and the ultimate strength
may be affected.
b. Type and surface of aggregate- This affects the bond strength.
c. Efficiency of curing- Loss in strength of up to 40% may result from premature drying out.
d. Temperature- In general, the initial rate of hardening of concrete is increased by an
increase in temperature but may lead to lower ultimate strength. At lower temperatures, the
crushing strength may remain low for some time, particularly when cements of slow rate of
strength gain are employed, but may lead to higher ultimate strength, provided frost damage
does not occur.
e. Age- When moisture is available, concrete will increase in strength with age, the rate being
greatest initially and progressively decreasing over time. The rate will be influenced by the
cement type, cement content and internal concrete temperature.

f. Moisture condition- Concrete allowed to dry will immediately exhibit a higher strength due
to the dry process but will not gain strength thereafter unless returned to and maintained in
moist conditions. Dry concrete will exhibit a reduced strength when moistened.
The compressive strength of the concrete is determined from the following formula
Fc =is the compressive strength in N/mm2
F = is the maximum load at failure in Newton
Ac =is the cross sectional area of the specimen on which the compressive force acts, calculated
from the compressive strengths act.
3.5.2 Determination of the tensile strength
A. Casting cylinders
Plain concrete cylinders were cast in moulds of standard sizes (to BS) and compacted in three layers
using a vibrator. After compacting the top layer its level was then smoothened using a plasterers float and
the mould wiped clean to remove adhering concrete on its outer surfaces. The specimens were stored for
24 hours in an undisturbed place and cured for the specified age.
B. Loading cylinders
Specimens cured in water were tested immediately upon removal from water whist still wet. The
specimens were positioned and centered correctly with longitudinal axis of the specimen at right angles to
the rollers.
The tensile strength of the concrete is determined from the following formula.
Where; P = is the maximum load at failure in Newton.
D = Diameter of the cylinder
L = Length of cylinder.






TOTAL (Kshs)





20mm aggregates




14mm aggregates

7 tons



10mm aggregates

10 tons



Concrete Mixer







Concrete Vibrator



Rock sand




Hire of laboratory services Lump sum Hire of facility 25,000


102,200 Kshs