Sand can be classified into three types based on grain sizes, as coarse, medium and fine.

The determination of these fractions is important because they affect the properties and performance of sands as pavement layers in terms of plasticity, strength and bearing capacity. The shape of sand particles affects its density, stability and overall engineering behaviour. Smooth rounded particles would offer less resistance to rearrangement than angular or elongated particles with rough surfaces

Sea and desert sands seldom satisfy the requirements of traditional specifications for use as a construction material, especially in their untreated state.

Desert sand grains are finer and smoother so their surface chemistry would not be able to offer sufficient number of multi-directional chemical linkages. If their grain size is too small, the slurry slip and the concrete would have poor strength. Desert sands possess an open structure, and there is little interlock between sand grains. If this sand is kept dry, these bonding bridges provide considerable bearing strength. But if the sand becomes wet, the bridges soften and when overloaded, the bridges break and collapse.


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