What’s a sand sieve?

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A sand sieve is a tool for sorting particles by size, used by gardeners, scientists, and industries. Sand sieve analysis determines the composition of sand or sediment. Sieves are sold in standard sizes and designated by the number of holes per inch.

A sand sieve is a tool for sifting through sand or other particles in order to sort the particles by size. It is usually a simple metal or plastic screen, with openings of a predetermined size, designed to allow particles of a certain size or smaller to pass through, catching any larger particles. These sieves can be small hand tools used by gardeners or scientists or large industrial devices used in the production of quarry products such as sand and gravel.

An analytical technique called sand sieve analysis is often used to determine the relative composition of sand or composite sediment based on particle size. Sieves of gradually decreasing size from top to bottom are arranged in a column, sometimes held in place by a frame or other apparatus. The sediment sample is weighed and poured into the upper sieve and this sieve is shaken for a certain period of time. As the sediment passes through the sieves, each sieve is shaken for the same amount of time. The individual sediment particle sizes are then weighed, allowing for classification of the sample.

Gardeners and hobbyists sometimes use a sand sieve to separate sand and other soil particles. Bonsai enthusiasts often use them for this purpose, to allow them to more accurately formulate the specialized soil mixes used for dwarf tree growth. Archaeologists and paleontologists sometimes employ sand sieves to sift through sand or other sediment for artifacts or fragments of very small bones and teeth.

In industry, sieves are often used to produce sand with a particular uniformity of grain size for things like children’s play areas, swimming pool filters, sandblasting applications, cement and mortar mixes. Industrial sieves can be very large, capable of handling many thousands of tons of sand per day, and are often fed by conveyor belts. By changing the number of sieves or the mesh size of a series of sieves, almost any combination of particle sizes can be produced.

Sieves are sold in standard sizes and are designated by a number which usually refers to the number of holes per inch. Taking into account the standard wire diameter used to make a sand sieve, the maximum particle size can be calculated from the number of meshes in the sieve. To calculate this figure in inches, divide 0.6 by the sieve number. To calculate this figure in millimeters, divide 15 by the sieve number.

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