Modern Building Materials

Aggregates

Aggregates are an important part of modern buildings. They help create and support the foundation of homes, factories and offices. Many dried aggregates are used in combination with other products to create the foundation. Concrete is made with a combination of small stones and sand that is mixed with cement and water. As the concrete is mixed, the water binds the cement and stones into a mass. Silica sand fills in the minute holes in this mass to help bind this product together for strength.

Concrete is just one part of any foundation. Before it is mixed and poured, the area beneath the structure requires preparation. It is a waste of time and money to pour concrete onto a surface that will not support its weight. Foundations begin with digging into the ground to create a level area. If the soil or rock already in place will support the weight of the building, it is simply leveled. An aggregate of small stones and silica sand will be used to shore up the area if more support is necessary. Concrete is then poured into the area to create a solid foundation.

The walls of a foundation are where the weight of the building will rest. They also have the task of keeping water out of the building's lowest areas. Water tables go up and down throughout the year, and this can cause problems for the foundation. A trench is dug beside the foundation and filled with an aggregate of gravel to help move water away from the foundation walls. A water barrier will be placed against the concrete sides to keep any possible water from penetrating the walls.

Aggregates have become a basic building block of modern buildings. Without them, foundations would not be as strong or water resistant. Each small stone or grain of sand has a purpose that supports the final product being created.