The foundation for buildings and roads across the Earth are required to be sturdy and supportive. You may wonder how engineers ensure these crucial infrastructures meet their strength requirements. Categorizing materials by how hard or durable they are can tell you more about these hardcore quantities that disperse weight and loads applied to them all over their surface.
Types of Materials
Construction projects use different materials for buildings and roads across cities. You can roughly divide them into gravel, hardcore and aggregates. There are other ways of categorizing these materials, but this schism can give you a better idea of what makes hardcore materials hardcore. Gravel is the term that applies to a loose collection of tiny fragments of rock.
The gravel that covers pathways and the gravel near the bottom of some bodies of water can either be natural or man-made. Engineers use gravel to make concrete and for mixing with other materials like asphalt. You'll find gravel being used on the base layer of roads before engineers and other professionals lay concrete on top of it.
Gravel roads themselves allow water and other liquids to easily drain through them while still providing a surface that is suitable for driving or walking on.
Hardcore materials are groups of solid materials that engineers use as composition and shape formation to elevate different levels of the earth. Engineers also use them for fixing other irregularities in excavation projects. With hardcore material on the ground, workers can use it as a firm working base.
Hardcore materials are made of brick and broken tiles as well as blastfurnace slag, colliery spoil, oil shale residue and pulverized-fuel ash for use in roads, paving, driveways, foundations and other projects.
Engineers use aggregate material for stabilization and reinforcement among other materials. This broad category includes particles with coarse and medium graining. It can be a mixture that includes elements of other materials like sand, gravel, crushed stone and slag. You can use aggregate material as a component of concrete and cement, and you'll find it in projects for draining, pipe protection and surface strengthening.
Making Hardcore Material
Many other types of materials can make up the mass of hardcore itself. You can use the waste from construction projects alongside gravel, quarry waste and crushed rock to make hardcore material. Ideal materials are ones that are hard while still being compressible.
These materials should also be resistant to deterioration and remain that way in the presence of water. When using quarry waste in creating hardcore materials, you need to be careful not to use waste from gypsum mines. This can degrade the quality of concrete.
Hardcore Calculator and Aggregate Calculator
Engineers use a ton of hardcore or other material as the unit for these projects. A ton is equal to 2,000 pounds. To calculate the amount of aggregate you need for a project, make sure you know the length, width and depth in feet of your project. Multiply these three values to get the volume in cubic feet, divide it by 27 to get cubic yards and finally, multiply your result by 1.5 to get how many tonnes you'll need.
You can use an online hardcore calculator or aggregate calculator in determining how much of a hardcore material you need based on the dimensions of what you want to make. The AWBS company has an online aggregate calculator here for input dimensions when calculating aggregate. Sand and Gravel Direct also has one for calculating the tonnes of hardcore you'll need.
The American Asphalt Paving Company offers one that lets you use different density levels, mass divided by volume, of the material itself. You can even enter your own density. Use these calculators to check your own calculations.
- Paving Expert: Sub-Base Layers
- Paving Expert: Aggregates for Paving and Drainage
- Designing Buildings Wiki: Gravel v hardcore v aggregates
- Designing Buildings Wiki: Hardcore
- Midewest: 7 Crucial Factors to Building a Great Gravel Road
- The Concrete Society: Concrete @ your Fingertips
- Patuxent Companies: Materials Calculator
About the Author
S. Hussain Ather is a Master's student in Science Communications the University of California, Santa Cruz. After studying physics and philosophy as an undergraduate at Indiana University-Bloomington, he worked as a scientist at the National Institutes of Health for two years. He primarily performs research in and write about neuroscience and philosophy, however, his interests span ethics, policy, and other areas relevant to science.