M sand vs River sand – Application, Strength, workability, Quality, etc.

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M sand and River sand both are used for almost all constructional work. But they are different from each other for many factors like quality, density, strength, workability and many others parameters. Let us discuss one by one.

River Sand

River sand is a sand that is naturally available and is extracted from the river banks or river beds.

M sand vs River sand - Application, Strength, workability, Quality, etc.

Application of River Sand?

River sand can be used in the following works:

  • RCC work
  • Brick work
  • Block work, and
  • Plastering

As the construction industry is growing faster than ever, the demand for sand has increased tremendously. This has caused a deficiency of suitable river sand in most of the world. The depletion of good quality river sand has made us think about its alternative and m sand is identified as one.

M sand

M sand vs River sand - Application, Strength, workability, Quality, etc.

M sand represents manufactured sand. This type of sand can be made in industries by crushing rock, quarry stones, or larger aggregate pieces into the size of sand particles in a factory or a quarry.

Application of M Sand

M sand can be used in the following works:

  • RCC work
  • Brick work, and
  • Block work

Note: M sand can be used for any construction work except plaster work and water proofing work.

And, bedding under the stones for hardscape work, 50% m sand and 50% river sand should be used for better result.

M sand vs River sand – Difference between m sand and river sand

 PropertiesRiver sandM sand
DefinitionRiver sand, also known as natural sand is a type of sand that is available naturally and is extracted from the river banks or river beds.M sand represents manufactured sand. It is also known as Manufactured Fine Aggregate or Crushed sand. It is a type of sand that is artificially made in industries by crushing rock, quarry stones or larger aggregate pieces into the size of sand particles in a factory or a quarry.
SourceNaturally availableQuarry site
ManufacturingRiver sand is excavated from river beds or river banks by digging.M sand is manufactured in factories by crushing rocks, quarry stones or large aggregate pieces into sand size.
Shape and sizeRiver sand is rounded in shape and has a smooth surface.M sand is cubical or angular in shape and has a rough texture.
WastageThere will be more wastage due to use of river sand as compared to m sand.There will be no wastage due to the use of m sand as it is already sieved in the required size. i.e. below 4.75mm.
Moisture contentGenerally, the moisture content is present in between the sand particles. Note: Moisture content has effects on the assumptions of concrete mix design and quality of concrete.M sand has less or no moisture content.
StrengthThe compressive strength and flexural strength of river sand for the same mix ratio as compared to m sand is less.The compressive strength and flexural strength of m sand for the same mix ratio as compared to river sand is high. Note: The sand should be well graded.
Setting timeWhen river sand is used in the concrete, the setting time is normal.When m sand is used in the concrete, the setting time is comparatively faster.
WorkabilityThe workability of concrete manufactured with river sand is more than that manufactured with m sand.The workability of concrete manufactured with m sand is lesser than that manufactured with river sand.
PermeabilityWhen river sand is used in the concrete, the permeability of the concrete is less poor as compared to m sand.When m sand is used in the concrete, the permeability of the concrete is very poor as compared to river sand.
Water absorptionThe water absorption of river sand is 1.5-3%.The water absorption of m sand is 2-4%.
Presence of silt and clayRiver sand consists of clay and silt materials.M sand does not contain clay and slit materials.
Presence of over-sized materialRiver sand contains oversized material. Therefore, before being used, the sand must be washed and screened respectively.M sand does not contain over-sized material as it is manufactured artificially.
Presence of marine productsRiver sand may also contain some marine products like sea shells, tree barks, grass, algae and many more which needs to be removed.M sand does not contain marine products in it. Thus, removal time and cost are saved.
Presence of micro-fine particlesAs river sands are naturally formed, they contain less micro-fine particles.As m sands are manufactured in industries, they contain more micro-fine particles due to the crushing of stones and aggregates.
SlumpRiver sand contains more slump than m sand.M sand contains less slump than river sand.
Bulk densityThe bulk density of river sand is 1.44 gm/cm³.The bulk density of m sand is 1.75 gm/cm³.
Specific gravityThe specific gravity of river sand is 2.3 to 2.7. The specific gravity of river sand depends upon the rock in the catchment area.The specific gravity of m sand ranges from 2.5 to 2.9. The specific gravity of m sand depends upon the parent rock.
BulkageWhile river sand is being used, the bulkage correction is required during mix design.While m sand is being used there is no need of bulkage correction during design mix.
Ability to hold surface waterThe ability to hold surface water by river sand is up to 7%.The ability to hold surface water by m sand is up to 10%.
AdulterationThere is a high probability of adulteration in river sand because of acute shortage. In coastal areas, river sand adulteration with saline sea sand is common.The adulteration of m sand is less.
QualityThe quality of river sand differs from one to other.The quality of m sand is better as it is manufactured in a controlled environment.
Environmental factorThe extraction of river sand is harmful to the environment and causes ecological imbalance. Note: Extraction of river sand reduces the groundwater level and river water gets dried up. Water table level gets reduced due to the dragging of the sand from the river and the roots of the tree may not be able to get the water. In the absence of sand in the river, the water gets evaporated due to direct sunlight.M sand is considered as eco-friendly and causes less damage to the environment.
AvailabilityThe facility as in m sand is not available in river sand.The production of m sand can be done in areas closer to construction sites. This will help us to bring down the cost of transportation and provide an assurance of consistent supply.
CostRiver sand is more expensive in comparison to m sand.M sand is cheaper in comparison to river sand.
UsageRiver sand can be used for RCC, plastering work, brickwork, and blockwork.M sand can be used for RCC, brick work and block work.
M sand vs River sand

Conclusion

Global scarcity for river sand, growing need of fine aggregates in construction, sand pit located in remote places, slit and clay presence in the river sand and numbers of bans on the extraction of river sand has forced us to think about the alternative of river sand.

Thus, overcoming all these problems m sand can be economic and environment friendly. But we should ensure it is produced reliably and processed adequately.

Some questions

What is adulteration?

Adulteration is the process of making something poorer in quality by adding another substance to it.

Why everyone prefers river sand over m sand?

This is because river sand is round in shape and has a smooth texture. This helps us to make concrete in less cement paste.

On the other hand, m sand is cubical and angular and has a rough texture. Due to this more water and cement is required to achieve the workability of the concrete and results in cost increment.

I hope this article on “M sand vs River sand” remains helpful for you.

Happy Learning – Civil Concept

Contributed by,

Civil Engineer – Sushmita Niraula

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