ASTM C127 - 12

    Standard Test Method for Density, Relative Density (Specific Gravity), and Absorption of Coarse Aggregate

    Active Standard ASTM C127 | Developed by Subcommittee: C09.20

    Book of Standards Volume: 04.02


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    Significance and Use

    Relative density (specific gravity) is the characteristic generally used for calculation of the volume occupied by the aggregate in various mixtures containing aggregate, including portland cement concrete, bituminous concrete, and other mixtures that are proportioned or analyzed on an absolute volume basis. Relative density (specific gravity) is also used in the computation of voids in aggregate in Test Method C29/C29M. Relative density (specific gravity) (SSD) is used if the aggregate is wet, that is, if its absorption has been satisfied. Conversely, the relative density (specific gravity) (OD) is used for computations when the aggregate is dry or assumed to be dry.

    Apparent density and apparent relative density (apparent specific gravity) pertain to the solid material making up the constituent particles not including the pore space within the particles which is accessible to water.

    Absorption values are used to calculate the change in the mass of an aggregate due to water absorbed in the pore spaces within the constituent particles, compared to the dry condition, when it is deemed that the aggregate has been in contact with water long enough to satisfy most of the absorption potential. The laboratory standard for absorption is that obtained after submerging dry aggregate for a prescribed period of time. Aggregates mined from below the water table commonly have a moisture content greater than the absorption determined by this test method, if used without opportunity to dry prior to use. Conversely, some aggregates which have not been continuously maintained in a moist condition until used are likely to contain an amount of absorbed moisture less than the 24-h soaked condition. For an aggregate that has been in contact with water and that has free moisture on the particle surfaces, the percentage of free moisture is determined by deducting the absorption from the total moisture content determined by Test Method C566.

    The general procedures described in this test method are suitable for determining the absorption of aggregates that have had conditioning other than the 24-h soak, such as boiling water or vacuum saturation. The values obtained for absorption by other test methods will be different than the values obtained by the prescribed soaking, as will the relative density (specific gravity) (SSD).

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers the determination of the average density of a quantity of coarse aggregate particles (not including the volume of voids between the particles), the relative density (specific gravity), and the absorption of the coarse aggregate. Depending on the procedure used, the density (kg/m3 (lb/ft3)) is expressed as oven-dry (OD), saturated-surface-dry (SSD), or as apparent density. Likewise, relative density (specific gravity), a dimensionless quantity, is expressed as OD, SSD, or as apparent relative density (apparent specific gravity). The OD density and OD relative density are determined after drying the aggregate. The SSD density, SSD relative density, and absorption are determined after soaking the aggregate in water for a prescribed duration.

    1.2 This test method is used to determine the density of the essentially solid portion of a large number of aggregate particles and provides an average value representing the sample. Distinction is made between the density of aggregate particles as determined by this test method, and the bulk density of aggregates as determined by Test Method C29/C29M, which includes the volume of voids between the particles of aggregates.

    1.3 This test method is not intended to be used with lightweight aggregates that comply with Specification C332 Group I aggregates.

    1.4 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the standard for conducting the tests. The test results for density shall be reported in either SI units or inch-pound units, as appropriate for the use to be made of the results.

    1.5 The text of this test method references notes and footnotes which provide explanatory material. These notes and footnotes (excluding those in tables and figures) shall not be considered as requirements of this test method.

    1.6 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    C29/C29M Test Method for Bulk Density (Unit Weight) and Voids in Aggregate

    C125 Terminology Relating to Concrete and Concrete Aggregates

    C128 Test Method for Density, Relative Density (Specific Gravity), and Absorption of Fine Aggregate

    C136 Test Method for Sieve Analysis of Fine and Coarse Aggregates

    C330 Specification for Lightweight Aggregates for Structural Concrete

    C332 Specification for Lightweight Aggregates for Insulating Concrete

    C566 Test Method for Total Evaporable Moisture Content of Aggregate by Drying

    C670 Practice for Preparing Precision and Bias Statements for Test Methods for Construction Materials

    C702 Practice for Reducing Samples of Aggregate to Testing Size

    D75 Practice for Sampling Aggregates

    D448 Classification for Sizes of Aggregate for Road and Bridge Construction

    E11 Specification for Woven Wire Test Sieve Cloth and Test Sieves


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 91.100.30 (Concrete and concrete products)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 30111800(Aggregates)


    DOI: 10.1520/C0127-12

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