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Calculate Cement Sand and Aggregate for Nominal mix concrete in Volume and in Weight

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Following is a simple method used by engineers to calculate cement, sand and aggregate to produce different grade of concrete like M5, M7.5, M10, M15 and M20. if you don’t want to learn the math involved in the design, you can use the table given at the end of the article to produce different grade of concrete.

There are two ways to design the concrete mix. They are Design mix method and nominal mix method. Once you know the math behind the design you can easily design any grade of concrete for different purposes in different units.

Cement bags, Sand and aggregate picture
Unloading of Cement bags in our site

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NOMINAL MIX CONCRETE AND DESIGN MIX CONCRETE

In the design mix method, materials are proportioned based on the procedure and rules given in IS456(2000) and IS10262(2009) codebooks. In this method, cement, sand and aggregates are always batched in terms of weight, and concrete can be designed for different environmental conditions and different needs. Hence, if you prepare concrete using design mix method you can save cost and get good quality of concrete.

In nominal mix method, materials are proportioned based on prescribed approximation and experience to attain the different grade of concrete. Cement, sand and aggregates are usually batched in terms of volume using pans, batching boxes etc.., Nominal mix method is easier to follow in site and they are easier to design and measure hence they are often used in site to produce concrete up to M20 grade.

UNDERSTANDING CONCRETE GRADE AND CONCRETE MIX RATIOS

Concrete is classified into different grades like M5, M7.5, M10, M15 etc., where M stands for Mix and the following number stands for characteristic compressive strength(fck) of concrete in 28 days in the Direct Compression test. So, if you produce M20 grade concrete then you will get the compressive strength of 20 N/mm2 in 28 days after mixing and casting.

The strength of concrete is based on the ratio of cement, sand, aggregate used to prepare concrete. Hence it is important to determine the mix ratio through previous experience and Guidelines. Concrete mix ratios are usually in the form of cement : Sand: Aggregate. For example, if the concrete mix ratio of M20 concrete is 1:1.5:3 then 1 part of cement, 1.5 part of sand and 3 part of aggregate in volume should be taken to produce concrete.

Prescribed concrete Mix ratios for all grades of concrete are given below

GRADE  MIX RATIO
M 5 1 : 5 : 10
M 7.5 1 : 4 : 8
M 10 1 : 3 : 6
M 15 1 : 2 : 4
M 20 1 : 1.5 : 3

Above concrete mix ratios are not strictly practised in the site. You will often notice that the contractors increase the quantity of sand and reduce the quantity of cement to reduce the cost. Increasing the sand content will increase the workability of concrete which is good for mixing and placing but increasing the sand content will decrease the percentage of cement in concrete hence the strength and durability of the concrete will be affected. It is advisable not to increase the sand content more than 30 per cent than the above-prescribed ratio.

DESIGN OF NOMINAL MIX CONCRETE FOR ONE CUBIC METER OF M20 CONCRETE

Though you want to prepare 1 cubic meter of concrete, the total volume of cement sand and aggregate required will be more than 1 cu.m. Because, while mixing, cement and sand has to fill the gaps between the aggregate(crushed stone) before taking their own place. Hence if you want to produce concrete with 20 mm aggregate then the total volume of cement sand and aggregate you require will be 1.55 cubic meters, and if you want to produce concrete with 40 mm aggregate then the total volume of cement sand and aggregate you require will be 1.52 cubic meters. 

Let’s calculate material required for M20 grade to prepare one cubic meter concrete.
Cement sand and aggregate ratio for M20 grade concrete is 1:1.5:3
  • Cement = 1 Part
  • Sand = 1.5 Part
  • Aggregate = 3 Part
  • Total Parts = 1 + 1.5 + 3 = 5.5
  • Total Material Required per cubic meter of concrete= 1.55
Volume of 1 part = (1 / 5.5) x 1.55
= 0.282 cu.m
Volume of cement = Ratio x1 part
= 1 x 0.282
= 0.282 cu.m
Volume of sand = Ratio x 1 part
= 1.5 x 0.282
= 0.423 cu.m
Volume of aggregate = Ratio x 1 part
= 3 x 0.282
= 0.846 cu.m

Conversion of Units of the Material for site conditions

Cement is often bought in 50kg bags hence we must convert our calculated quantity to bags.

Weight of cement = volume x density
= 0.282x 1440
= 406kg

No of cement bags required to prepare 1 cubic meter = 400 / 50 = 8 bags

Hence we require nearly 8 bags to prepare one cubic meter of M20 grade concrete.

Aggregates are often bought in Units through lorries and tippers. One cubic meter is 35.32 Cubic feet. One unit is equal to 100 cubic feet.

Sand in cft = Volume x 35.32
= 0.423 x 35.32
= 15 cft
=0.15 unit

Hence we require 15 cft of aggregate to prepare one cubic meter of M20 grade

Aggregate in cft = Volume of sand x 2
=15 cft x 2
= 302 cft
= 0.30 unit

Hence we require 30 cft of aggregate to prepare one cubic meter of M20 grade concrete.

M20 GRADE – MATERIAL CALCULATION USING GAUGE BOX AND PAN

Gauge boxes, pans are used for Volume batching in site. Volume of a gauge box is 0.35 cu.m(1cft) which is a volume of 1 bag of cement. For M20 grade, use 1 bag of cement, 1.5 boxes of sand and 3 boxes of aggregate. These are our results….

QUANTITY CEMENT   SAND  AGG.
1cu.m 0.28cu.m 0.42cu.m 0.85cu.m
1cu.m 400kg 15 cft 30cft
1bag 1 1.5cft 3cft

Likewise, cement, sand and aggregate for different concrete grades with 20mm aggregate (Total dry material = 1.55)….

GRADE CEMENT SAND AGG.
M20 0.28cu.m 0.42cu.m 0.85cu.m
400kg 15cft 30 cft
M15 0.22cu.m 0.44cu.m 0.89cu.m
320kg 15.5cft 31cft
M10 0.16cu.m 0.47cu.m 0.93cu.m
225kg 16.5cft 33cft
with 20mm aggregate (Total dry material = 1.55)….

GRADE CEMENT SAND AGG.
M10 0.15cu.m 0.46cu.m 0.91cu.m
220kg 16.5 cft 32 cft
M7.5 0.18cu.m 0.47cu.m 0.94cu.m
170kg 16.5cft 33cft
M5 0.1cu.m 0.475cu.m 1 cu.m
140kg 17 cft 33.5cft

DESIGN OF NOMINAL MIX CONCRETE BY WEIGHT AS PER IS CODE

QUANTITY OF CEMENT SAND AND AGGREGATE IN WEIGHT PER BAG (50KG) OF CEMENT

IS456 Code book recommends the following quantities of total aggregate per 50kg of cement to produce nominal mix concrete.

GRADE TOTAL ( FINE + COARSE )
M 5 800 kg
M 7.5 625 kg
M 10 480 kg
M 15 330 kg
M 20 250 kg
Note: General ratio of fine aggregate to coarse aggregate is 1:2, but it can be adjusted between 1:1.5 to 1:2.5 based on the grading of fine aggregate and size of coarse aggregate.

Let’s find out the quantity needed to produce M20 grade by the codal procedure. Sand is confirmed to Zone II – average grading. The ratio of fine to coarse aggregate is chosen as usual as 1:2. From the above table we know we need 250kg of total dry aggregate for our concrete.

sand per bag of cement = (1 / (1+2)) x 250 kg
=83 kg ~ 85 kg
aggregate per bag of cement = (2 / (1+2)) x 250 kg
= 166 kg ~ 165 kg

Likewise, the weight of cement, sand and aggregate per bag of cement for different concrete grades

GRADE CEMENT SAND AGGREGATE
M20 1bag 85 kg 165 kg
M15 1bag 110 kg 220 kg
M10 1bag 160 kg 320 kg
M7.5 1bag 210 kg 415 kg
M5 1bag 265 kg 535 kg

WATER REQUIREMENT FOR NOMINAL MIX CONCRETE

Water is taken based on the weight of cement and the required workability. For design mix concrete codebook suggests to use suitable Water/Cement ratio based on different factors but for nominal mix concrete codebook suggests the following quantities per bag of cement.

GRADE WATER PER 50KG OF CEMENT IN LITERS
M5 60
M7.5 45
M10 34
M15 32
M20 30

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65 thoughts on “Calculate Cement Sand and Aggregate for Nominal mix concrete in Volume and in Weight

    1. how can we apply this for different dimensions(cross section)?¡.e in my case i do have 1.7m*1.7m*0.5 footing pad which is prepared to be filled.

    2. Calculate the concrete quantity required in cubic meter and then multiply the quantity with the cement sand and aggregate for 1 cubic meter of concrete.

      In your case
      Volume of concrete = 1.7 x 1.7 x 0.5 = 1.4 cu.m
      It looks like you are using m20 grade mix with extra sand. If you follow that mix proportion then to calculate use this following method.
      Total ratio = 1 + 2 + 3 = 6
      Cement required = (1/6) x 1.5 = 0.25 cu.m (refer the post to change cu.m to bags)
      Sand = 0.25 x 2 = 0.5 cu.m
      Aggregate = 0.25 x 3 = 0.75 cu.m

      1. Sir int his case we did calculate sand and aggregate in cubic feet but how we cn use it at site in execution plz tell me quickly

  1. l want make ready made wall sise of
    1’w×5’L×1″T what is the proportion of cement sand aggregate and water
    if need iron rod or (gale )then what is size

  2. in design mix
    a/c to is :10262-2009, how to calculate volume of coarse and fine aggregate for different water cement ratio.

    1. I dont think that is a good ratio to obtain good quality of concrete, Mr. Hussain. You will end up using too much sand which is not good for concrete. Maybe 1:3:5 is a good ratio. Either way, you should follow the same procedure given above.

  3. Good morning sir, It is very useful information. Now I have started G+2 building construction in 2000SFT (Ground floor area). I have given the contract for construction. They are using 1 : 2.5 : 3 (Actually they have suggested 1 : 2.5 : 3.5 ) for concrete and 1 : 6 for brick work. We are using Ultratech 53 grade cement (OPC) cement. May I know is it good?

    1. Contractors usually add extra sand to reduce the cement content and also to increase the workability(consistency) of concrete. The strength of the concrete greatly depends on the density of the concrete hence we should not play with the ratio of sand to aggregate. I would suggest the ratio of 1:2:3 or 1:1.5:3 for M20 grade concrete and 1:2:4 or 1:2.5:3.5 for M15 grade concrete.

      If you prepare concrete with your ration then the concrete will have too much sand. Too much sand causes shrinkage and this will not give high-density concrete. Hence use 1:2:3 for good strength and 1:2.5:3.5 for moderate strength.

      If you want to increase strength then reduce the water content and use Chemical admixtures like super plasticisers. If you want good compaction and high density then you can use two different types of aggregates like 10mm aggregate and 20mm aggregate.

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