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How Concrete Services in Chicago, IL May Deal With Expected Shortages of Sand

A 2019 article in the New York Times reports that more than 10 billion tons of concrete are made every year around the globe. About 30 to 40 percent of concrete consists of sand. Contractors providing concrete services in Chicago IL typically buy their materials from local or regional suppliers. What happens if suitable sand becomes depleted?

Sand in Concrete

Sand has always been a crucial element of concrete, along with larger aggregate material such as gravel. Portland cement and water are the two other required components. Crushed recycled concrete may be a possibility for replacing sand.

Sand in Manufacturing

It may be hard for most people to imagine, but sand actually is being used up at a rapid rate. The world creates sand without any assistance, but the substance is used to manufacture such a broad range of items that some regions are experiencing actual shortages. It not only is required for making concrete, but manufacturers include sand in the manufacturing process for plastic, paper, paint and even cosmetics. Those are just a handful of examples.

Expensive to Ship

Sand from deserts cannot be used in the manufacture of concrete and many other products because the quality is different. The Times article explored the possibility of sand from Greenland being shipped elsewhere, as this country has an abundant supply. However, the material is expensive to move long distances because of its weight.

Manufactured Sand

One solution being used by some concrete producers is to buy manufactured sand as a substitute for the natural material. Natural sand has the advantage of being rounder than crushed stone, which tends to be coarser because of its angles. Manufactured sand also may have flaky characteristics. However, it is less likely to have contaminants like silt, and it is cheaper to obtain. The rock can be mined from quarries, for instance, which costs less than mining sand from a river.

Concrete will continue to be in demand for a large variety of projects, and producers of the material will continue to find effective ways of making it. Anyone who needs professional concrete work done may contact Golf Construction to get started.