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Water Absorption of Aggregates

This test helps to determine the water absorption of coarse aggregates as per IS: 2386 (Part III) – 1963. For this test a sample not less than 2000g should be used. The apparatus used for this test are :-
Wire basket – perforated, electroplated or plastic coated with wire hangers for suspending it from the balance, Water-tight container for suspending the basket, Dry soft absorbent cloth – 75cm x 45cm (2 nos.), Shallow tray of minimum 650 area, Air-tight container of a capacity similar to the basket and Oven.

Procedure to determine water absorption of Aggregates.
i) The sample should be thoroughly washed to remove finer particles and dust, drained and then placed in the wire basket and immersed in distilled water at a temperature between 22 and 32oC.

ii) After immersion, the entrapped air should be removed by lifting the basket and allowing it to drop 25 times in 25 seconds. The basket and sample should remain immersed for a period of 24 + ½ hrs afterwards.


iii) The basket and aggregates should then be removed from the water, allowed to drain for a few minutes, after which the aggregates should be gently emptied from the basket on to one of the dry clothes and gently surface-dried with the cloth,transferring it to a second dry cloth when the first would remove no further moisture.The aggregates should be spread on the second cloth and exposed to the atmosphere away from direct sunlight till it appears to be completely surface-dry.The aggregates should be weighed (Weight ‘A’).

iv) The aggregates should then be placed in an oven at a temperature of 100 to 110oC for 24hrs. It should then be removed from the oven, cooled and weighed (Weight ‘B’).

Formula used is Water absorption = [(A – B)/B] x 100%.
Two such tests should be done and the individual and mean results should be reported. A sample proforma for the record of the test is


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Kanwarjot Singh

Kanwarjot Singh is the founder of Civil Engineering Portal, a leading civil engineering website which has been awarded as the best online publication by CIDC. He did his BE civil from Thapar University, Patiala and has been working on this website with his team of Civil Engineers.

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36 comments on "Water Absorption of Aggregates"

mahmoud mottaghi says:

I want to know how to calculate the volume of absorption sanitary well. thank,s a lot

rakesh bhatt says:

0.1 to 2.0 pecent for aggregates normally used in road surfacing.

oboi joseph says:

how do you determine the specific gravity of coarse aggregates?

Abdul Hai Shams says:

what is the limit of water absorption of coarse aggregate for concrete

Engr mohan lal says:

does the size of coarse aggregate effects its specific gravity and apparent specific gravity

Aditya Mishra says:

Limit of all material testing
And how to do mix design


what is the maximum water absorption of fine aggregate?

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