ASTM C128 - 15

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

    Active Standard ASTM C128 | Developed by Subcommittee: C09.20

    Book of Standards Volume: 04.02


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    Significance and Use

    5.1 Relative density (specific gravity) is the ratio of mass of an aggregate to the mass of a volume of water equal to the volume of the aggregate particles – also referred to as the absolute volume of the aggregate. It is also expressed as the ratio of the density of the aggregate particles to the density of water. Distinction is made between the density of aggregate particles and the bulk density of aggregates as determined by Test Method C29/C29M, which includes the volume of voids between the particles of aggregates.

    5.2 Relative density is used to calculate the volume occupied by the aggregate in various mixtures containing aggregate including hydraulic 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 and in Test Method C1252. Relative density (specific gravity) (SSD) is used in the determination of surface moisture on fine aggregate by displacement of water in Test Method C70. Relative density (specific gravity) (SSD) is used if the aggregate is in a saturated surface-dry condition, that is, if its absorption has been satisfied. Alternatively, the relative density (specific gravity) (OD) is used for computations when the aggregate is dry or assumed to be dry.

    5.3 Apparent relative density (specific gravity) pertain to the solid material making up the constituent particles not including the pore space within the particles that is accessible to water. This value is not widely used in construction aggregate technology.

    5.4 Absorption values are used to calculate the change in the mass of an aggregate material due to water absorbed in the pore spaces within the constituent particles, compared to the dry condition, if 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 that 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 by drying.

    5.5 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 24-h soak, as will the relative density (specific gravity) (SSD).

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers the determination of relative density (specific gravity) and the absorption of fine aggregates. The relative density (specific gravity), a dimensionless quality, is expressed as oven-dry (OD), saturated-surface-dry (SSD), or as apparent relative density (specific gravity). The OD relative density is determined after drying the aggregate. The SSD relative density and absorption are determined after soaking the aggregate in water for a prescribed duration.

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

    1.3 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

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

    1.5 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

    C188 Test Method for Density of Hydraulic Cement

    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

    C1252 Test Methods for Uncompacted Void Content of Fine Aggregate (as Influenced by Particle Shape, Surface Texture, and Grading)

    D75 Practice for Sampling Aggregates

    D854 Test Methods for Specific Gravity of Soil Solids by Water Pycnometer


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 91.100.30 (Concrete and concrete products)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 30111800(Aggregates)


    Referencing This Standard

    DOI: 10.1520/C0128-15

    ASTM International is a member of CrossRef.

    Citation Format

    ASTM C128-15, Standard Test Method for Relative Density (Specific Gravity) and Absorption of Fine Aggregate, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2015, www.astm.org

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