Can we use Desert Sand in Construction?
Sand is in great demand all around the world and is utilized extensively in a variety of sectors, particularly construction. It is known as a component of the modern world. In fact, the demand for construction sand is growing faster than the available supply. With deserts abounding in it, it’s easy to believe that sand is a virtually limitless resource. But desert sand, on the other hand, has limited use; the grains are too smooth and fine to bond together, making it unsuitable for use in concrete.
Why is sand important?
Sand is the most used material on the planet. Used in a variety of industries, it is also the most used resource due to the growing demand for high-quality sand.
“The essence of the crisis is that we do not fully understand this material. We do not fully understand the impact of where we are taking it. Sometimes you don’t even know where it comes from or how much it comes out of the river. I do not know. do not know.”
(Geneva Observatory Global Sand Observatory, Louise Gallagher)
Unlike other materials and resources, policymakers do not know how much sand is used each year. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) is based on reports on cement usage. They were able to come up with a figure of 5 billion tons of stadium. According to scientists, it goes beyond what can be responsibly used each year.
Crushing rocks can produce more sand, but some countries are facing a shortage that they are beginning to destroy natural habitats that directly affect the ecosystems of certain regions.
Why we can’t use Desert Sand in Construction?
Let us now look at why desert sand is considered unsuited for building purposes.
The qualities of desert sand are listed below, and they are all against construction standards.
- Desert sand is round in shape.
- They have a smooth surface finish.
- The particle size of the desert sand is very fine.
- They are slightly alkaline in nature.
- Round Shape:
The sand used in the building should be angular in shape in order for the sand particles to pack tightly together, leaving no gap between them. The majority of desert sand particles are spherical, which results in holes between them due to their poor interlocking ability.
- Smooth surface finish:
To generate a strong bond strength with cement and coarse aggregates, construction sand should have a rough surface finish. The flat surface of desert sand does not meet these requirements because it weakens the binding strength of concrete components.
- Fine sand particles:
To achieve the specified design strength, the particle size of the building sand must pass the sieve analysis test. Desert sand’s fineness prevents it from being utilized in buildings since it fails the sieve analysis test.
Because sand acts as a filler between the coarse aggregates, it should be big enough to meet this requirement.
- Alkaline in nature:
When we utilize sand with an alkaline concentration in it, the concrete loses its strength. When water evaporates in the desert, the salt content of the sand is left behind.
As a result, desert sand is once again designated inappropriate for use in construction projects.
We can use desert sand in the following cases:
There are some researchers focusing on this sand in China recently.
- When there are no other choices and there is a lot of it, desert sand can be utilized, but it will result in concrete with low strength. This may not be an issue for some applications.
- Yes, you may use it in concrete as long as it meets the guidelines (standards and specifications). Grading, fineness, absorption, and harmful chemicals should all be tested.
- There are some excellent desert sands available for construction. Extra fineness, on the other hand, maybe an issue in terms of workability but beneficial in terms of stability and cohesiveness.
- If you combine it with other sizes to make the combination within permissible limits, you can use it. If the desert is near the sea, you should also wash it to eliminate dust and check the chloride and sulfate levels.
A suggestion is “Don’t use the desert sand in construction until its researchers find a way to use it in construction.”
The desert sand, which has been exposed to the wind for many years and has been sharpened and rounded, is very beautiful. However, the grains are too small and too round to be used as concrete for construction or as earth and sand for landfills. Due to the finer and smoother nature of desert sand grains, their surface chemistry would be unable to provide a sufficient number of multi-directional chemical connections. The slurry will slide and the concrete will be weak if the grain size is too tiny. The structure of desert sands is open, with minimal interlocking between sand grains. These bonding bridges give significant bearing strength if the sand is maintained dry. When the sand becomes moist, however, the bridges soften, and when they become overloaded, they crack and fall. Sand from the desert generally contains a lot of salt, which is harmful to concrete since it rusts the steel reinforcing and reduces the concrete’s strength.
By looking at all the characteristics and properties we may say that Desert Sand is not suitable for construction and must be avoided until new technologies make it useful for construction purposes.