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Artificial Sand - What Is It and How to Make It

Author : Jordan Last Updated :

Nowadays, natural sand is running 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 crushed sand or mechanical sand (m sand), refers to rocks, mine tailings or industrial waste granules with a particle size of less than 4.75 mm. It is processed by mechanical crushing and sieving.

In China, the artificial sand was mainly 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.

Many Indian states have decreed the use of crushed sand in infrastructure construction because of its high compressive strength and cohesion and the adverse environmental effects of river sand mining, which will greatly boost the demand for artificial sand.

Artificial sand which is less than 4.75 mm

Artificial sand

The factors that promote the development of artificial sand

There are both natural and human factors in the increasing demand for artificial sand. The former is that the natural sand is about to run out, while human factors include people's requirements for environmental protection and the need for high-quality concrete.

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

Reason 1: River sand mining causes river pollution.

Driven by huge interests, natural sand has been indiscriminately mining, which changes the river course, affects the safety of river embankments, destroys the living environment of fish and contaminates the groundwater. The crushed stone sand is an important alternative resource to change this phenomenon.

Reason 2: River sand mining causes tailings.

In the process of mining river sand, 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.

Reason 3: A lot of construction waste is wasted.

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 high-strength structural concrete has 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.

Artificial sand production process


The stones are blasted down from the mountain and large stones are fed into the vibrating feeder by dump trucks.

Fote vibrating feeder

Fote vibrating feeder

Vibrating feeder

  • Little wear: The material in the feed trough is continuously tossed during the feeding process.
  • Low power consumption: The resonance principle of mechanical vibration is applied.
  • High feeding accuracy: The material flow can be changed, opened and closed instantaneously.
  • Low operating cost: Nonrotating parts need no lubrication.

Fote vibrating feeder price: Get Latest Price

The following is a video of the artificial sand making plant. The vibrating feeder is shown in detail at the beginning of the video.

Coarse and fine crushing

The vibrating feeder feeds the stone evenly into the coarse crushing machines for the primary crushing of the stone. The crushed stone from the coarse crushing equipment is transported through the belt conveyor to the fine crushing machines for the secondary crushing.

Primary crushing equipment

The primary crushing equipment directly processes supplied materials from the stone material factory and is the foremost processing plant. The jaw crusher is the ideal choice for primary crushing.

Jaw crusher

  • The crushing force and crushing ratio are superior.
  • The maintenance cost is reduced by using the high wear-resistant liner.
  • A wide range of materials can be processed.
  • The jaw crusher has a low failure rate and reliable operation.

Jaw crusher price: Get Latest Price

Secondary crushing equipment

Secondary crushing equipment

Secondary crushing equipment

The secondary crushing equipment is responsible for the middle and fine crushing in the stone crushing process. The secondary crushing equipment mainly includes impact crushers and cone crushers.

Impact crusher

  • The impact crusher manufactured by supplier Fote has uniform discharging granularity and good grain shape with low fine powder and dust content.
  • The granularity of the finished product can be adjusted only by adjusting the gap between the impact plate and the hammer, which is easy to operate.
  • The semi-automatic hydraulic top opening device can help to carry out the inspection and maintenance of plant and the replacement of wearing parts more quickly with less effort.
  • Low operating and investment costs.

Impact crusher price: Get Latest Price

Cone crusher

  • Large crushing depth, continuous work, large production capacity, low power consumption.
  • There is no need to add the ore storage bin and rock feeder.
  • The hydraulic system can adjust the size of its discharge port to ensure the safe operation of the plant effectively.
  • The crushing cavity has different specifications, which can best meet the special requirements of customers.

Cone crusher price: Get Latest Price

The following is the viseo of m sand making line manufactured by supplier Fote on site. The cone crusher plays a important role in the line.

Sand making and screening

The crushed material is conveyed by the belt conveyor to the crushed sand making machine for fine crushing. The finely crushed material is then screened through the vibrating screen for coarse sand, medium sand, fine sand and other specifications.

Sand making machine

Sand making machine

Sand making machine

At present, the more popular m sand making machines (vertical shaft impact crusher) are VSI sand making machine and HVI sand making machine.

VSI sand making machine is called high cost-effective sand making equipment with low initial investment cost and good use effect. It is high in operation efficiency with the “PLST” crushing cavity.

The HVI sand making machine manufactured by Fote is more advanced in technology. Its butt ends and lubrication scheme are modular in design, and the peripheral guard plate can be turned up and down to extend its life cycle. It has the effects of sand making and shaping at the same time.

Sand making machine price: Get Latest Price

Vibrating screen

Vibrating screen

Vibrating screen

  • The finished products of different particle sizes can be screened one by one, and it can also form a closed-loop operation with the artificial sand making machine.
  • The equipment is generally equipped with three to four layers of screens according to the needs of customers.
  • It is easy to use and maintain with almost no wearing parts except for the screen.

Fote vibrating screen price: Get Latest Price

Sand washing and recycling

For those with strict requirements on the powder content of sand, a sand washing machine can be installed behind the sand manufacturing machine, and the sewage discharged from the sand washing machine can be recycled by the fine sand recovery plant.

Sand washing and recycling

Sand washing and recycling

On the one hand, it reduces environmental pollution; on the other hand, it can increase the sand production output.

Sand washing machine

  • The sand washing machine combines the unique rotor design with the bypass feeding system to greatly improve its production capacity and product quality.
  • The sand washing machine has a simple structure. The drive bearing of the impeller is isolated from water and water-receiving materials, which greatly avoids the damage to the bearing caused by water, sand and pollutants.
  • The fully enclosed oil bath type transmission device and the adjustable overflow weir plate ensure the high yield, durability, good cleaning and dehydration effects of the sand washer.

Fote sand washing machine price: Get Latest Price

How does the sand washing machine work on site? What does the sand look like after washing by the sand washer? Look at the following video.

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. 1 Quality advantage: The source of sand resources is stable; mechanized production mode ensures an adjustable and controllable quality.
  2. 2 Grade advantage: artificial sand has high surface energy and hydrophilicity; it has complete gradation; the particles gradation is stable and adjustable; the grain shape can be improved.
  3. 3 Management advantages: There are stable legal entities, mining licenses, fixed business locations, which is easy to trace.
  4. 4 Resource advantages: In addition to mines, various waste resources such as tailings and construction waste can be utilized.
  5. Properties of artificial sand vs river sand
Types Artificial sand River sand
Shape Cubical Spherical
Ability to hold surface moisture 10% 7%
Compressive strength Higher Lower
Flexural strength Higher Lower
Impurity Less More (seaweed, bones, shells, mica and silt, etc.)
Grade Can be controlled Cannot be controlled

The following video shows clearly the difference between crushed sand and river sand from the aspects of source, wastage, setting time, shape, silt content and so on. It is worth collecting and sharing with friends.

The table below shows the mix ratio of M15 M55 and M55 M55 concrete designed for artificial sand and river sand. The results show that in the same Concrete Mix Design, the strength of concrete by artificial sand is higher.

Types M15 M55 Concrete M55 M55 Concrete
Artificial sand River sand Artificial sand River sand
Cement one bag 50 kg 50 kg 50 kg 50 kg
Sand 125 kg 135 kg 70 kg 75 kg
Agg. 20 mm 137 kg 135 kg 80 kg 75 kg
Agg. 12 mm 75 kg 67.5 kg 35 kg 37.5 kg
Water 27.5 Ltrs 27.5 Ltrs 19 ltrs 19 ltrs
Strength after 7 days curing 186.67 kg per Sq.cm 174.81 kg per Sq.cm 468.14 kg per Sq.cm 441 kg per Sq.cm

How is the global sand and gravel aggregate market performing?

As the demand for aggregates from China, Africa, Latin America, Europe,etc. will continue to rise, and the price of artificial sand will also increase, the outlook for the global aggregate market for sand and gravel is worth looking forward to.

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

According to the Global Sandstone Aggregate report, by 2020, 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 2020, China will still be the world's largest aggregate demander, accounting for almost half of the world's total aggregate.

China-the country with the largest aggregates demand

China—the country with the largest aggregates demand

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

  • Africa and the Middle East: Demand for aggregates will grow faster than the global average;
  • Latin America: Many government-supported affordable housing projects will boost the construction industry and sand and gravel aggregate demand in the region;
  • North American: The upgrade of construction industry will be beneficial to the sales of local aggregates;
  • Western Europe: The sand and aggregate industry 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;
  • Eastern Europe: The situation of construction industry 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

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.

increasing use of artificial sand

Increasing use of artificial 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 2020, 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.

Fote sand making process cases of various materials

The m sand manufacturing machine produced by the supplier Fote is suitable for m sand making production line of high hard and abrasion-resistant materials such as limestone, quartz stone, granite, river pebble, basalt, cement, various ores, glass raw materials, mechanism building stone, gold slag, etc.

Limestone sand manufacturing line Yes! I'm interested.

The limestone, widely distributed in nature, is easy to obtain. It is the main raw material for manufacturing cement, lime and calcium carbide. After being processed, limestone is used in large quantities as building materials. Generally, simple processing process is through the limestone sand production line.

Limestone sand manufacturing line

Limestone sand manufacturing line

Capacity 20 TPH
Raw material Limestone
Mohs hardness 3.5-4
Feeding size ≤ 300 mm
Limestone sand making machines 1. Silo
2. GZD650×2300 Vibrating feeder
3. PE400×600 Jaw crusher
4. PEX250×750 Jaw crusher
5. VSI7611 Sand making machine
6. 2YK1545 Vibrating screen
7. Belt conveyor (Some)
Types of finished products 1
Finished product specifications 0-5 mm
Estimated cost $ 48,000-$ 52,000

Quartz sand manufacturing line Yes! I'm interested.

Quartz is a hard, wear-resistant, chemically stable silicate mineral mainly composed of silicon dioxide. It is an important industrial mineral raw material generally used in glass, building materials, ceramics, high-tech electronics industry, etc. after crushing and sand making.

Quartz sand manufacturing line

Quartz sand manufacturing line

Capacity 50 TPH
Raw material Quartz
Mohs hardness 5-6
Feeding size ≤ 210 mm
Quartz sand making machines 1. GYS300 Cone crusher
2. VSI8518 Sand making machine
3. 2YK2160 Vibrating screen
4. XS2900 Sand washing machine
5. Belt conveyor (Some)
Types of finished products 1
Finished product specifications 0-5 mm
Estimated cost $ 100,000-$ 120,000

Granite sand manufacturing line Yes! I'm interested.

The granite has the characteristics of hard texture, high strength, abrasion resistance and weathering resistance. It has the title of "The King of Rocks" and is a good building material. It is rich in resources with low mining costs but high product value. Granite is a popular choice when the product needs to be weather-resistant or durable.

Granite sand manufacturing line

Granite sand manufacturing line

Capacity 100 TPH
Raw material Granite
Mohs hardness 7-8
Feeding size ≤ 40 mm
Granite sand making machines 1. Silo
2. 2YI2460 Vibrating screen
3. VSI8518 Sand making machine
4. XS3020 Sand washing machine
5. Belt conveyor (Some)
Types of finished products 1
Finished product specifications 0-5 mm
Estimated cost $ 79,000-$ 82,000

Pebble sand manufacturing line Yes! I'm interested.

The river pebble resources are rich with low collection costs and high application value. After making sand from river pebble, it is widely used in water conservancy and hydropower, expressways, high-speed railways, passenger dedicated lines, bridges, airport runways, municipal engineering and high-rise buildings in the engineering field.

artificial sand making site

Pebble sand manufacturing line

Capacity 200 TPH
Raw material Pebble
Mohs hardness 7-8
Feeding size ≤ 60 mm
Pebble sand making machines 1. Silo
2. VSI1140 Sand making machine (Two sets)
3. 2YK2870 Vibrating screen (Two sets)
4. XS350 Sand washing machine (Two sets)
5. Belt conveyor (Some)
Types of finished products 1
Finished product specifications 0-5 mm
Estimated cost $ 190,000-$ 210,000

Basalt sand manufacturing line Yes! I'm interested.

Basalt is the best material used for repairing roads, railways and airport runways. With the characteristics of strong compressive resistance, low crushing value and strong corrosion-resistance, it is the best cornerstone for the development of railway transport and road transport.

Basalt sand manufacturing line

Basalt sand manufacturing line

Capacity 350 TPH
Raw material Basalt
Mohs hardness 5-6
Feeding size ≤ 60 mm
Pebble sand making machines 1. Silo
2. ZSW600x130 Vibrating feeder
3. HD110 Jaw crusher
4. PF1520 Impact crusher
5. 4YK2460 Vibrating screen (Two sets)
6. VSI1140 Sand making machine
7. 2YK2460 Vibrating screen
8. Belt conveyor (Some)
Types of finished products 3
Finished product specifications 0-5, 5-10, 10-20 mm
Estimated cost $ 250,000-$ 290,000


According to the data of global sandstone aggregate, artificial sand has unlimited development space and broad investment prospects, which can bring huge benefits to investors.

As a professional manufacturer of mechanical sand production equipment, Fote Heavy Machinery has rich experience in the design of mechanical sand production equipment, a perfect service system and professional after-sales team.

We are committed to providing customers with high-quality services and cost-effective products.

Do you want to know more about artificial sand or artificial sand making machine? Contact us

FTM sand making manufacturer

FTM sand making manufacturer

author head images
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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