specific gravity and water absorbtion test of aggragate

Specific Gravity and Water Absorption Test of Coarse Aggregate

 Specific gravity and Water Absorption Test of Aggregates are major important tests to be performed on aggregate. These two parameters or properties of aggregate play an important role in the mix design of concrete. As we know that aggregate occupies 70 to 80% volume of concrete, its testing becomes essential before use.

As per IS: 2386 (Part III) – 1963 (Indian Standard- Methods of Test for Aggregates for Concrete – Specific Gravity, Density, Voids, Absorption, and Bulking),

Specific Gravity and Water Absorption Test of Coarse Aggregate

Specific Gravity and Water Absorption Test of Coarse Aggregate are two important test of coarse aggregate used in construction. Let discuss them in details,

Specific Gravity

 “Specific Gravity is defined as the ratio of the weight of a given volume of aggregate to the weight of an equal volume of water.”

The specific gravity is usually showed the strength and quality of the material. The specific gravity of aggregates test is usually used to the identification of stones or aggregates.

Aggregates with low specific gravity value are mostly weaker than those with higher specific gravity values.

Water Absorption

Water absorption of aggregates is the % of water absorbed by an air-dried aggregate when immersed in water at 27°C for a period of 24 hours. 

Significance of Water Absorption Test On Aggregates

The water absorption test use to find the water holding capacity of the aggregates.

The water is absorbed by the aggregates or stones in their pores known as the water absorption. Usually water absorption gives an idea about the strength of the aggregates. Those aggregate has more water absorption is usually unsuitable for the construction.

There is basic 3 method specified to find out specific gravity of aggregates based on their sizes like.

  1. The aggregates are larger than the 10mm (Basket method)
  2. The aggregates are between 10mm and 40mm (Basket method)
  3. The aggregates are smaller than 10mm (Pycnometer bottle)

Read More: Flakiness and Elongation Index Test of Coarse Aggregate

Objectives of Specific Gravity and Water Absorption Test of Aggregates

To Determine the Specific Gravity and Water Absorption Value of Aggregate Sample.

Reference:- Specific Gravity of Fine Aggregate as per IS Code 2386 (Part 3) – 1963 PDF

Reference: water absorption test for coarse aggregate is code 2386 (Part 3) – 1963 PDF


Specific Gravity and Water Absorption Test

1. Balance

  • The balance used to measure the aggregate has sufficient capacity (3kg minimum). Accuracy of balance readable up to 0.5gm. The balance is such a type and its shape is also to permit the basket containing the sample to be hanging from the beam and weight in water.

2. Oven

  • The oven use for the test is well ventilated or thermostatically control to maintain the temperature of oven up to 100*C to 110*C.

3. Wire Basket

The wire basket use for test is not more than 6.3mm mesh or it is also a perforated container of convenient size.

  • It usually chromium-plated and done well polished.
  • It has wire hangers that are not thicker than 1mm for hanging it from the balance.
  • A basket has freely hanged this type of watertight container is used.
  • The dry and soft absorbent clothes are used. (2nos.). Min. size of the clothes is 75*45cm.
  • A tray is used for test Min. area not less than 650cm^2.
  • An airtight container is also used. The capacity o container is similar to the basket.

 Specific gravity and Water Absorption Test

Procedure For Specific Gravity and Water Absorption Test of Aggregates

Following procedure used for specific gravity and water absorption test of aggregate,

1. Take about 2 kg of aggregate sample (Aggregate which has been artificial heated shall not be used).

2. The aggregates thoroughly washed so, the finer particles or the dust is remove from its surface.

3. Then the washed aggregates are placed in the wire basket and immersed in the distilled water at a temperature between 22° C to 32° C with cover from the water surface at least 5 cm top of the basket.

4. The basket immersed in the water requires immediate removal of entrapped air. This entrapped air removed by lifting basket 25 mm above the base of the tank and allowing 25 drops at the rate of about 1 drop/sec. Then basket filled with aggregate allowed to be immersed in water for a period of 24 hrs.

5. After 24 hours the basket and the aggregates are weighed in the water at a temperature of 22° C to 32° C. (W1)

6. Then the basket and the aggregates are taken out from the water and it allows to drain for a couple of minutes, after these aggregates are removed from the basket and placed on the dry cloths.

 7. After this the empty  basket is again immersed in the water, apply 25 drops and weighed in water.(W2)

8. The aggregates are placed on the dry cloth and are gently surface dried with a cloth if 1st cloth is not taken moisture than aggregates are transferred to the second one. After these aggregates are spread on the cloth and less exposed to the atmosphere away from direct sunlight or also away from the other source of the heat for until it appears to be a completely surface dried.

10. For accelerating the unheated air may be used after the first 10 minutes for those aggregates which is difficult to dry and weight it. (W3)

11. Then the aggregates are placed in the shallow tray and put in the oven at a temperature of 100° C to 110° C for the 24 hours.

12. After 24 hours the aggregates are remove from the oven and fill in the airtight container for the cooling of it and weighed.(W4)

Read More: You can download the IS Codes of Aggregates for FREE Here: IS: 2386 (Part I-VII) PDF


Weight of saturated aggregate  sample suspended in wire basket = W1

Weight of basket suspended in water = W2

Weight of saturate aggregate in water = (W1-W2) = Ws

Weight of surface dry aggregate in air = W3

Weight of water equal volume of aggregate = (W3 – Ws)


Specific Gravity of Aggregate = Dry Wt. Of Aggregate / Wt. Of Equal Volume Water

                                                    = W4 / (W3- Ws)

Apparent Specific Gravity = Dry. Wt. of Aggregate / Wt. Of equal volume of water excluding air

                                             = W4 / (W4-Ws)

Water Absorption of Aggregate = %  by weight of  water absorbed  in term of oven dried  weight of aggregate

                                           = (W3 – W4) x 100) / W4

Specific gravity and water absorption of coarse aggregate lab report is prepare after calculating above values.


The specific gravity of coarse aggregate as per is code is 2.5 to 3.

The water absorption of aggregate ranges from  0.1 to 2%.

Watch Video: Specific Gravity & Water Absorption of Coarse Aggregate

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