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Artificial Sand - What Is It and How Is the Development Prospect

Author : Jordan | Published : Jan 07, 2020

Nowadays, natural sand is being run out by the huge demand. The natural sand resources formed by hundreds of thousands of years in many countries and regions are almost exhausted.

As a result, natural sand costs are getting higher and higher and cannot meet the increasing market demand. In this case, the artificial sand came into being.

In this article, we will introduce:

What is artificial sand?

Artificial sand, also called mechanical sand and processed sand, refers to rock, mine tailings or industrial waste granules with a particle size of less than 4.75 mm, which are processed by mechanical crushing and sieving, but does not include soft and weathered granules.

In China, the artificial sand was first used in the construction of hydropower systems. For example, the Three Gorges Project and the Yellow River Xiaolangdi Project used artificial sand to prepare concrete. Due to the remote environment of the hydropower project and the high quality of sand and gravel, the projects have taken the materials locally, which is self-use rather than market-oriented.

Artificial sand

Artificial sand

The factors that promote the development of artificial sand

1. Natural sand depletion

With the development of infrastructure, the natural sand resources formed by hundreds of thousands of years in many countries and regions have been almost exhausted, which has affected the further development of construction projects.

2. The need for energy saving and environmental protection

Driven by huge interests, natural sand has been indiscriminately mining, which changes the river course, affecting the safety of river embankments, destroying the living environment of fish and contaminating the groundwater. This phenomenon must be changed, and artificial sand is an important alternative resource.

In the process of mining and processing, it often produces a large amount of tailings which is not used reasonably. Especially in small mines, the tailings are piled up at random, occupying land and polluting the environment.

Besides, in urban planning and construction, a large amount of construction waste is generated, which actually can be crushed by the crushers to produce the artificial sand and aggregates for promoting resource utilization.

3. The need for the development of high-performance concrete technology

With the rapid development of concrete technology, the comprehensive performance of high-performance concrete and structural high-strength concrete has higher and higher requirements on the quality of aggregates, requiring it with stable quality, good gradation and shape, while less and less natural sand meets the requirements. Therefore, people are turning their focus on artificial sand.

Artificial sand and mixed sand are mainly used in building construction, municipal construction, transportation, and other projects whose concrete strength grade is below C60. When meeting the corresponding technical requirements, they can also be used for concrete projects such as ports and water conservancy.

Application requirements of mixed sand

Concrete strength grade Mixed sand fineness modulus
C60 The fineness modulus of the mixed sand shall not be less than 2.3, and the fineness modulus of the ultra-fine sand shall not be less than 1.1.
C45-C55 The mixed sand fineness modulus is not less than 1.8, and the ultra-fine sand fineness modulus is not less than 0.9.
C60 or more The mixed sand should pass through the test to obtain reliable data and can be used after it has been demonstrated that the performance requirements are met the requirement.

Comparison of artificial sand and natural sand

Comparison between artificial sand and natural sand

Comparison between artificial sand and natural sand

  • 1 Quality advantage: The source of sand resources is stable; mechanized production mode ensures an adjustable and controllable quality.
  • 2 Grade advantage: artificial sand has high surface energy and hydrophilicity; it has complete gradation; the particle gradation is stable and adjustable; the grain shape can be improved.
  • 3 Management advantages: There are stable legal entities, mining licenses, fixed business locations, which is easy to trace.
  • 4 Resource advantages: In addition to mines, various waste resources such as tailings and construction waste can be utilized.

How is the global sand and gravel aggregate market performing?

1. China is still the country with the largest demand for aggregates

According to the Global Sandstone Aggregate report, by 2019, the demand for aggregates of sand and gravel in the Asia-Pacific region will increase the fastest in the world, and the growth rate of India, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and other regions will be among the best.

Due to the economic transformation, the demand for sand and gravel aggregates in China will slow down. However, the report predicts that by 2019, China will still be the world's largest aggregate demander, accounting for almost half of the world's total aggregate.

2. Forecast of sand and gravel aggregates market around the world

  • Demand for aggregates in Africa and the Middle East will grow faster than the global average;
  • In Latin America, many government-supported affordable housing projects will boost the construction industry and sand and gravel aggregate demand in the region;
  • The upgrade of the North American construction industry will be beneficial to the sales of local aggregates;
  • The sand and aggregate industry in Western Europe will usher in a new round of growth after a long period of decline, which is good news for sand and gravel suppliers in the region;
  • The situation of construction industry in Eastern Europe will also warm up.

Therefore, the global sand and gravel aggregate market has bright prospects and is suitable for investment.

3. The price of artificial sand and recycled aggregate will increase substantially

In the coming period, the use of recycled aggregates and artificial sand derived from waste concrete and slag will increase at twice the rate of natural sand.

The Global Sandstone Aggregate report shows that the reserves of natural sand are gradually decreasing globally, and in some developing countries where the demand for aggregates and sand is huge, illegal sand mining has happened frequently. According to the report, by 2019, the reserves of natural sand resources in some countries will be quickly depleted.

The depletion of natural sand resources will lead to a sharp increase in the price of aggregates and artificial sand, especially in areas where the demand for aggregates is huge. It can be seen that the profit margin of the artificial sand is very large.

Artificial sand production process

With the decreasing of natural sand, the artificial sand market has shown great potential and vitality. The huge demand in the construction market has promoted the rapid development of the sand and gravel market.

With the improvement of infrastructure, the visionary investors catch the business opportunity and want to open a small and medium-sized sand production line. Then, how should the artificial sand production line be configured?

Usually, the complete set for small and medium-sized sand production line includes feeders, jaw crushers, sand making machines, vibrating screens and belt conveyors. The output is generally selected at around tens of tons per hour, and its investment is not large enough to be accepted by most individual investors.

At the same time, based on our customer production experiences, the small and medium-sized sand production line can start to benefit as long as it is operated for two months.

Sand production line

Sand production line

1. Sand production line configuration principle

The stone production line mainly uses a series of stone crushing equipment to crush the stone and produce artificial sandstone. Though different production line equipment configurations are different, there are two basic guidelines to follow when configuring:

Guideline 1: Understanding material characteristics and requirements

Before configuring the gravel production line, it is necessary to clarify the properties of the material, such as hardness and size.

And according to the materials, production requirements, and requirements for the particle size of the finished product, consider the configuration of the crusher and sand making machine. In addition to satisfying the output, the selection of the crushing and sand making equipment should also consider the size of the feeding inlet.

Guideline 2: Understand your own economic strength

There is a saying goes: the economic base determines the superstructure. So when configuring the sand and gravel production line, you must choose different production lines according to your investment strength. Don't buy it blindly, and the best is the one which is suitable for you.

2. Detailed description of the process of the sand production line

  • 1The first step, feeding
  • The stone blasted from the mountain is sent to the vibrating feeder through the dump truck.
  • 2The second step, coarse and fine crushing
  • The vibrating feeder sends the stone uniformly into the jaw crusher for the first crushing which is also the coarse crushing. And then the crushed material is transported by the belt conveyor to the cone crusher or the impact crusher for the secondary crushing which is also the fine crushing.
  • 3The third step, sand making and screening
  • The finely divided materials are sent to the sand making machine for fine crushing by the belt conveyor, and then are sieved through the vibrating screening to separate materials of different sizes.

Generally, the production line can be completed by the above three steps, but if there have strict requirements for the sand powder containing, the sand washing machine can be added after the fine crushing.

The steps of sand making

The steps of sand making

3. Artificial sand production line - taking cobblestone as an example

Characteristics of cobblestone: The main component of cobblestone is silica, which has the advantages of innocuity and strong corrosion resistance. It is the main material for the production of artificial sandstone and also a green building material.

Cobblestone sand production line configuration: a cobblestone sand production line with a capacity of 50-70 tons per hour: feeder + fine jaw crusher 2 sets + sand making machine + vibrating screen + sand washing machine + fine sand recycling machine + belt conveyor machine.

Cobblestone for making sand

Cobblestone for making sand


According to the above analysis, the artificial sand has many advantages and is hugely demanded, so it has become an indispensable main source of the global sandstone industry. Besides, according to the data of Global Sandstone Aggregates, the artificial sand has limitless development space and broad investment prospect, which can bring huge benefits to investors. In addition, investors should choose equipment and manufacturers according to their own needs when building a new artificial sand production line.

FTM sand making machine

FTM sand making machine

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Author : Jordan Jordan is the writer of the blog with a broad knowledge of this industry. Most importantly, he hopes to help you in your projects sincerely.
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