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Segregation typically refers to the separation of different particles in a mix, usually concrete or asphalt. Segregation creates grain boundaries where an aggregate and a solute in the mix, such as a gravel aggregate and Portland cement, become separated and there are pockets of each material. This causes weaknesses along the grain boundaries that may be unexpected and unaccounted for. In engineering applications, it is typical to strive for a well-graded mix. Segregation causes the mix to be less homogeneous which could amplify the weaknesses of an element in a mixture. [a] Segregation can be caused by improper consolidation, where too much leads to more dense particles sinking to the bottom, and where too little results in a poorly packed mix. Segregation can cause premature wear and tear, especially on roads with high traffic loads. It is very important to understand how segregation effects engineering materials and how to prevent it, so that we can prevent unnecessary damage to our projects.

Other Sources: http://jenike.com/bulkmaterialtesting/segregation/

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