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Bulk Materials – What Are They and How to Transport Them?

Quarry aggregate with heavy duty machinery

Bulk materials are widely used in various applications, such as industrial, commercial, agricultural and domestic projects. This article will discuss bulk materials and how you can get them delivered for your landscaping or building project.

What Are Bulk Aggregate Materials?

In construction, aggregates are coarse particulate materials typically available as dry bulk, thus the term bulk materials.

Material composites, like concrete and asphalt concrete, contain aggregates. As a reinforcement, the aggregate helps strengthen the composite. It gives the finished product strength, stability, resistance to wear and erosion and other desirable characteristics.

Bulk aggregates vary in size and shape according to their use. Generally, fine aggregate is composed of crushed stone, slag or sand. On the other hand, coarse aggregate is composed of pebbles, broken stone fragments, slag and other coarse materials.

What Are the Different Types of Bulk Aggregates?

Various construction applications rely on aggregates, and commercial and residential projects use them. Here are the different categories of bulk aggregates:

Crushed concrete

The majority of crushed concrete comes from recycled sources. The material is usually gathered from sites that have been demolished or construction sites that have excess material. The material makes a perfect sub-base, among other applications. Whether you need it to fill trenches, backfill, overfill or act as a sub-base for deeper areas over 150mm, this material will do the job.

Crushed concrete comes in different types, including large clean crushed concrete, tarmac plainings, gabion fill concrete, 6F2, type 1 and type 3. Type 1 is commonly used as a sub-base for roads, as a layer between concrete and tarmac and as hardcore for parking lots.

Crushed concrete is ideal for building walkways and paths in gardens. It is also possible to use them for raised garden beds.


This aggregate is made by sifting quarry rock and grinding natural stone. Gravel aggregates aren't as strong as granite aggregates, but they can be cheaper to buy. Among its other positive characteristics, it is low in radioactivity.

The construction industry typically uses gravel for medium to large-sized aggregates. It’s used in foundations, concrete, reinforced concrete products and road construction materials.

Gravel aggregates come in two types: scrabbled stone and gravel (rounded pebbles usually found in rivers and seas). You might need gravel if you plan on bordering, creating garden paths, draining or setting pebbles.

Crushed stone

In contrast to gravel aggregates, crushed stone is a more refined version with angular or subrounded particles. Projects of medium to large scale are typically completed with it, and it's common on commercial construction sites due to its high traffic capacity. Typically, crushed stone is available in a variety of shapes, such as bowling balls, drop shapes or rounded stones.


For the most part, sand is natural and not manufactured. It's perfect for landscaping, concrete components and brick manufacturing. This material is commonly used in construction due to its strength and bulk. Abundant and valuable, it can serve to cushion a play area, absorb oil leaks and improve paint grip.

Since sand is round and easy to mix, it is commonly used in mortar and concrete mixes. It also blends well with concrete and asphalt.

Sand comes in a variety of types. Sharp sand and washed sharp recycled sand are used to lay slabs and pave blocks. Reject sand (0-4mm) is used to blend pipes. Building sand is used to lay bricks and blocks and pave driveways. Play sand is used in children's sandpits. Lastly, soft-washed sand plays an important role in blockwork and rendering.

Recycled concrete

Recycled concrete is produced by removing, crushing and breaking existing concrete. It is suitable for use as aggregate in new concrete, especially the coarse part. Base layers for other construction materials are commonly made from it.

Recycled concrete can be used as aggregate, but you need to consider that it has a higher absorption rate and lower specific gravity. Consequently, it will produce concrete that shrinks and creeps more during drying.

Type 1 MOT

The MOT stands for the Ministry of Transport. This aggregate meets MOT standards for compact sub-base strength, size, and composition. Materials such as granite, gritstone, and other hard, inert ones may be used in the process. This can be used for trench fills, backfills, oversite fills, or as a sub-base for driveways, patios, and pathways. Type 1 MOTs can include limestone and granite aggregates.

Type 1: granite aggregates

This is a good aggregate to use for high-grade concrete. In granite, there are feldspar crystals, quartz crystals and mica crystals, all of which influence its colour. This is why it’s available in red, grey and pink.

Type 1: limestone aggregates

The process of creating limestone aggregates involves crushing sedimentary rocks. They’re commonly used in concrete and road construction.


Topsoil is a natural product; anyone can use it to create an enjoyable garden space. Several things are necessary for a garden, and topsoil is among them; it helps improve soil nutrient cycling and water retention.

Different types of topsoil exist. Enriched topsoil is a popular soil used for allotments, baskets and pots. Premium topsoil is used in flower beds and borders. The material is also suitable for gardening in general. This is an excellent option if you plan to prepare your lawn for a garden project. Turfing soil is the best soil to grow grass seeds and lay turf. Meanwhile, standard topsoil (20mm) is ideal for filling deeper-levelled gardens.

How to Transport Bulk Materials?

Materials of all kinds, rough and smooth, can be handled by grab lorries. Among these materials are rocks, aggregate, soil and bulk materials.

In grab trucks, a hydraulic arm is used to transport materials to the back of the vehicle. This feature makes the grab lorry capable of carrying bulky items easily.

Looking for a bulk haulage company that can provide the materials you need? At AU Grabhire, we can deliver bulk products for your various requirements and projects. The aggregates we supply can be used for construction, engineering and gardening purposes. Aside from bulk material delivery, we also offer to grab hire and site clearance services. Contact us today to know more.

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