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What are the Differences between Artificial Sand and Natural Sand?

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Since the amount of sand making machine is falling and more and more policies are set to protect the natural sand, the market for artificial sand (that is, sand and gravel aggregates processed by industrial sand making machines such as sand making machines and impact crushers) has shown great potential and vitality.

Especially in recent years, the demand for the construction market has increased dramatically, which has promoted the rapid development of the sand and gravel market.

Different kinds of artificial sand

Different kinds of artificial sand

The artificial sand produced by the high-efficiency sand making machine has gradually replaced other machines in the market with its unique advantages and has become one of the main sources of building materials.

The definition of artificial sand and natural sand

What is the natural sand?

Natural sand is produced by natural forces, such as river sand, sea sand, and mountain sand. Generally, mountain sand is more weathered, containing more mud, organic impurities and light substances.

Sea sand often contains shells and other impurities, and its components such as the chlorine, sulfate and magnesium salts may cause corrosion of steel bars. All the components will affect the performance of concrete.

Therefore, the quality of river sand among natural sand is the best and suitable for construction (the natural sand in this article mainly refers to "river sand").

River sand

River sand

What is artificial sand?

Artificial sand is one of the building sands, which refers to rock particles with a particle size of less than 4.75 mm and is made by artificial crushing and sieving after soil removal treatment.

The main technical indicators of artificial sand are particle gradation, fineness modulus, stone powder content, void ratio, apparent density, bulk density, methylene blue value (MB), crushing value index, mica content, light-matter content, etc.

The specifications of the artificial sand are divided into four types: coarse, medium, fine and extra-fine according to the fineness modulus:

Various specifications of artificial sand

Various specifications of artificial sand

  1. 1The fineness modulus of coarse sand is 3.7-3.1, and the average particle size is 0.5mm or more.
  2. 2The fineness modulus of medium sand is 3.0-2.3, and the average particle size is 0.35mm to 0.5mm.
  3. 3The fineness modulus of the fine sand is 2.2-1.6, and the average particle size is 0.25mm to 0.35mm.
  4. 4The fineness modulus of the ultra-fine sand is 1.5-0.7, and the average particle diameter is 0.25 mm or less.

What are the differences between artificial sand and natural sand?

1. Stable supply

Due to years of exploitation, natural sand has become less and less. With soaring prices, the supply and quality of natural sand are not guaranteed. However, there are too many artificial sand resources. And it can produce artificial sand as long as there is stone. Urban construction waste, gravel tailings, stone chips, gravel, and mine tailings can be used as artificial sand raw materials.

2. Price

The price of artificial sand varies from place to place, but it is basically much cheaper than river sand. Compared with river sand, artificial sand is about $3 per ton cheaper. In addition, the profit of the artificial sand is quite considerable. Based on the current market price of 2,000 tons per day, the estimated gross profit per month is more than 150,000 US dollars.

The differences between artificial sand and natural sand

The differences between artificial sand and natural sand

3. Environmental protection

The traditional artificial sand production will bring environmental problems such as dust pollution. However, with the continuous improvement of the sand making process, the production now adopts a fully enclosed structure, and each machine has a water spray setting which prevents the dust from overflowing.

The arbitrary exploitation of natural river sand will change the shape of the bottom surface of the river bed, and then change the water flow direction, which will form complex flow modes such as vortex and reflow. These phenomena will further affect riverbeds, dams and river sandbars in a wider range by affecting the accumulation of sediments or causing sediments to be eroded, thus affecting river dike safety, bridge safety, and navigation safety.

4. Robustness and durability

The solid performance of the artificial sand is slightly worse than that of the river sand, but it still can meet the international sand standard. However, for the construction that is often subjected to frictional impact, the lime-sand ratio of the concrete, the crushing index and the stone powder content of the sand should be controlled.

5. Stone powder content

Stone powder refers to the materials with a particle size of less than 75μm mixed in the artificial sand. Generally, ordinary concrete requires less than 10% of stone powder, and high-strength concrete requires less than 5%.

Through the cement, mortar, and concrete test, there is no difference between the artificial and the natural sand. Generally speaking, the water consumption of artificial sand is slightly larger. However, the strength of concrete is basically unchanged.

6. Degree of adhesion

The graininess of the artificial sand is more irregular. When it is bonded with building materials such as cement, it tends to have better adhesion, more compression resistance and longer service life.

After natural sand undergoing natural weathering, river impact and erosion, and the surface has a certain smoothness, so the effect is poor when it is bonded to other materials in the later stage.

Artificial sand market demand

Modern buildings

Modern buildings

According to surveys conducted by foreign professional research institutions, the global sand and aggregate market demand will reach 51.7 billion metric tons in 2019, with an average annual growth rate of 5.2%.

In the future, the estate industry in developed countries will recover, and the rise in per capita wages in developing countries will also stimulate people’s demand for modern housing. In terms of infrastructure, national investment and commercial investment will also be exerted at the same time.

In addition, according to the report, the storage of natural sand is gradually decreasing globally, and in some developing countries where sandstone aggregates are in great demand, the exploitation of natural sand has been prohibited by law.

The report shows that by 2019, natural sand reserves in some countries will be quickly depleted. The depletion of natural sand resources will lead to a sharp increase in the demand and price of artificial sand, so in the future, artificial sand production will be a good investment choice.

How to produce artificial sand?

Artificial sand production line

Artificial sand production line

The production process of artificial sand includes stone → coarse crushing → medium crushing → sand making → screening → dust removal → artificial sand.

That is: the sand making process is that big stones are crushed coarsely by the jaw crusher, and sent to the impact crusher or the cone crusher for further crushing, and then the material is delivered to the sand making machine by the belt conveyor.

The materials processed by the sand making machine is sieved and removed dust, and then washed by a sand washing machine (optional).

How to choose a suitable sand making machine?

How to choose a suitable sand making machine

How to choose a suitable sand making machine

1. Material characteristics

Materials characteristics should be considered carefully such as the type, hardness, water content, etc.

2. Feeding and discharging size of machine

Each type of sand making machine requires different particle sizes for the material. When choosing sand making machines, please be sure to know the size of the feeding and discharging size of it.

3. Sand production capacity

This is one of the most important aspects we have to consider, which determines the production and efficiency of our processing line.

4. Energy consumption

The sand making machine with high capacity and less energy consumption can save a lot of use costs. Therefore, the energy-saving and high-performance sand making machine is our preferred equipment.

5. Wearing parts

The wearing parts which are made of different materials have different wear-resistance ability. Wearing parts made of wear-resistant materials not only helps us save the replacement time, but also saves a lot of purchase costs.

6. Working site condition

If our site is limited, or there are other requirements for the working site, we should also consider the size of the equipment.

Artificial sand working site

Artificial sand working site

7. Purchase cost

Purchasing ability is one of the most important conditions when selecting equipment. When selecting a machine, please consider all the equipment conditions, and then combine with the cost to select the machine that suits you best.


Under the condition of natural sand depletion, the occurrence of artificial sand has alleviated this phenomenon in time. Through the above comparison, it is found that the artificial sand can be used as a good substitute for natural sand in infrastructure construction.

On the one hand, its own characteristics can meet the standards for construction. On the other hand, various ores such as limestone, basalt, quartz, andesite are widely distributed around the world. Many mines are still to be developed and utilized, so the artificial sand is a good investment market.

If you want to buy artificial sand production equipment, please consult the HXJQ Mining Machinery, our professional engineers will design the best artificial sand production line according to your specific needs, to help you choose the most suitable production equipment.


Steven is a professional writer in mining industry. He is wise and virtuous with extensive knowledge about this industry. And He will be very happy if he can help you.


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