Complete Guide to US Sieve Sizes

Complete Guide to US Sieve Sizes

Posted by Certified Material Testing Products on 20th May 2023

Understanding sieve size standards is crucial for everybody involved in the construction industry.

Getting the right sieve will help you with your quality control and assurance and your compliance with regulations, ensuring consistent particle size. This ensures the resulting mixture behaves as expected, which is precisely what you want for strength and durability in your construction projects.

But we're getting ahead of ourselves! Let's examine the role of sieves in the construction industry and look at why it's so important to get the right size. In doing so, we'll explore an essential aspect of particle size analysis: US Sieve Sizes and mesh designations.

What Is the Purpose of a Sieve in the Construction Industry?

Let's imagine you're at the beach making a sandcastle. You have a bucket with tiny holes at the bottom, like a strainer. When you scoop up sand and water into this bucket, what happens? The water and the tiny sand particles pass out through sieve openings, but the bigger grains of sand stay inside the bucket.

Now, imagine a construction site as a massive beach. A  sieve in construction works just like your bucket with tiny holes. It's used to separate particles larger (like pebbles or chunks of cement) from particles smaller (like grains of sand) in materials like concrete or soil. This is critical because using the right size of sand or stone makes buildings stronger and safer. Like your sandcastle, a building is best when made with the perfect mixture!

What Are US Sieve Sizes?

Sieve sizes and mesh designations are part of a standardized system building professionals use to characterize particle sizes for granular materials, from fine powders to coarse aggregates.

This mesh size relates to the number of openings in one linear inch (25.4 mm) of a sieve or screen. We refer to this system as the mesh number. The higher the mesh number, the smaller the particle size it can filter.

The Importance of Sieve Designation and Mesh Designation in Industry

This system has been in place since the early 20th century and was a much-needed step for the construction industry as well as industries like pharmaceuticals and agriculture - any time it's important to determine accurate particle size characterization. For any projects that require consistent particle sizes of various materials, a trusted and knowable sieve mesh size is vital.

For example, incorrect sieve mesh sizes in construction could lead to substandard concrete strength or poor soil compaction.

Sieve Size Examples

The table below provides a few examples of common sieve sizes:

Sieve Designation Nominal Sieve Opening
No. 4 4.75mm
No. 8 2.36mm
No.16 1.88mm
No. 30 600μm
No. 50 300μm
No. 100 150μm
No. 200 75μm

The "No." preceding the number is often used to denote U.S. sieve sizes. The sieve number represents the number of square openings per linear inch (measured from wire center to wire center), and the size of the opening is the average length of the square side.

The units provided in the table (mm and μm) refer to the nominal aperture size, which is a measure of the hole size in the sieve. In the U.S., sieve sizes are often listed with both the sieve number and the equivalent opening size for clarity.

Remember, this table provides only a select range of sieve sizes. The U.S. standard sieve series defines various sizes, providing a comprehensive system for accurately classifying and analyzing granular and powdered materials across industries.

How to Choose the Right Sieve and Mesh Size?

Getting the right sieve mesh size can seem intimidating, especially with so many options available to you at CertifiedMTP. Consider the following to help you make the right choice:

  • Identify the type of material you're working with and characterize particle size needed.
  • Understand the specific requirements of your project or product.
  • Be aware of the regulatory standards your work needs to comply with.

Remember, each material has an ideal mesh size for optimal results.

For example, for coarse aggregates like gravel, you will want sieve sizes that could range from 75mm (3 inches) for larger stones down to No. 4 (4.75mm), or even as fine as No. 200 (0.075mm) depending on the specification. For cement, since particle size is typically much smaller than aggregate, you'll need a smaller sieve with openings as small as No. 325 (0.045mm) or even smaller.

Our Sieve Series at CertifiedMTP

Here at  CertifiedMTP, we're proud to offer a variety of woven wire sieves designed to meet your particle size analysis needs. Whether you need a sieve for coarse aggregates or finer meshes for cement or sand, our products deliver precise and reliable results.

To perform aggregate sieving for your next construction project, you'll actually need a variety of tools, including a set of sieves with different mesh sizes and wire diameters, a sieve shaker or other means of shaking the sieves, a balance to weigh the aggregate and sieves, and a pan to collect any material that passes through the smallest sieve. You'll also need something to clean the sieves between tests to ensure accurate results.

View the full line of  aggregate sieves and sieve shakers available at CertifiedMTP.

Several types of sieves are available, each with pros and cons depending on your needs. The most common types of sieves include  wire mesh sieves, perforated plate sieves, and electroformed sieves.

We offer a wide range of ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) and ISO (International Organization for Standardization) test sieves.

Contact  one of our team for advice about which sieves are right for you.

Final Thoughts

Understanding US Sieve Sizes and mesh designations is crucial in your role as a construction expert. It's a vital part of the building process that influences several elements of a project, including product consistency, quality control, and overall project success.

At CertifiedMTP, we can provide the knowledge and tools you need for accurate sieving and particle size characterization.

Don't hesitate to reach out to us for more information on our products and how they can help you achieve the best results in your projects.