Los Angeles Abrasion Test in Road Construction

The construction industry’s vitality lies in its ability to innovate and adapt to evolving challenges. Within this dynamic sector, the durability of materials, especially aggregates used in road construction, plays a pivotal role in ensuring the longevity and safety of infrastructure. This extensive blog post delves into the Los Angeles abrasion test, an essential method for evaluating aggregate durability. From the underlying principles to the testing apparatus, procedure, and recommended values for diverse pavement types, this educational guide aims to empower professionals with a comprehensive understanding of aggregate durability assessment.

Understanding Aggregate Durability:

Aggregates, comprising a mixture of various-sized particles, are the building blocks of road surfaces. However, the constant stress imposed by vehicular traffic, environmental factors, and other forces necessitates a thorough evaluation of their durability. The Los Angeles abrasion test serves as a fundamental tool in this evaluation, gauging the ability of aggregates to resist abrasion, crushing, degradation, and disintegration.

Principles of the Los Angeles Abrasion Test:

At the core of the Los Angeles abrasion test are the principles of aggregate toughness and abrasion resistance. Conducted according to AASHTO T 96 or ASTM C 131, the test involves subjecting aggregates to abrasive action using standard steel balls. As these steel balls, along with aggregates, rotate in a drum for a specified number of revolutions, they induce both abrasive and impact forces. The resulting percentage wear of the aggregates, known as the Los Angeles Abrasion Value, provides a quantitative measure of their durability.

Apparatus for Los Angeles Test:

To conduct a reliable Los Angeles abrasion test, a set of specific apparatus is required. According to IS: 2386 (Part IV) – 1963, the apparatus includes the Los Angeles Machine, abrasive charge (consisting of cast iron or steel balls), a set of sieves with varying mesh sizes, a balance with a capacity of 5 kg or 10 kg, a drying oven, and miscellaneous items such as trays. The selection of appropriate abrasive charge and meticulous attention to grading are crucial elements in ensuring accurate test outcomes.

Testing Procedure:

The testing procedure involves several steps, starting with the preparation of a clean and oven-dried aggregate sample. The choice of grading, which aligns with the intended construction, is crucial. Depending on the grading, the appropriate abrasive charge is selected, and the aggregates, along with the abrasive charge, are placed in the Los Angeles machine. The machine rotates at a specified speed for a predetermined number of revolutions. Post-testing, the material is sieved, and the abrasion value is calculated. This meticulous procedure ensures the precision of the results.

Significance of Los Angeles Abrasion Test:

The Los Angeles abrasion test serves dual purposes: determining the abrasion value and assessing the suitability of aggregates for road construction. The abrasion value, expressed as a percentage, directly correlates with the wear resistance of aggregates. This information is invaluable for engineers and construction professionals, guiding them in selecting aggregates that will withstand the abrasive forces encountered on road surfaces.

Recommended Test Values for Pavements:

Understanding the Los Angeles abrasion values is essential for making informed decisions regarding the selection of aggregates for different pavement types. As per IRC specifications, the maximum permissible abrasion values vary, reflecting the diverse requirements of various pavement applications. These range from 60% for water-bound macadam sub-base courses to 30% for bituminous concrete surface courses. This section provides a detailed breakdown of recommended values for different pavement types, empowering professionals to make optimal choices in line with project specifications.

Exploring the Observations of Los Angeles Test:

The observational phase of the Los Angeles abrasion test involves recording the original weight of the aggregate sample, the weight of the retained sample, and the weight passing through a 1.7mm IS sieve. The abrasion value is then calculated using these parameters, providing a quantitative measure of the aggregate’s resistance to wear. A detailed walkthrough of this calculation process enhances the understanding of the test outcomes.

Implications for Road Construction:

The Los Angeles abrasion test’s results directly influence decisions in road construction projects. By comprehending the significance of the abrasion value, construction professionals can tailor their material selection to meet the specific demands of each project. The recommended values for different pavement types serve as benchmarks, aligning construction practices with industry standards and ensuring the creation of resilient and durable road infrastructure.

Advancements in Aggregate Testing:

In the ever-evolving landscape of the construction industry, technological advancements continually refine testing methodologies. This section explores recent innovations and trends in aggregate testing, shedding light on how emerging technologies contribute to more accurate, efficient, and sustainable assessments of aggregate durability.

Global Perspectives on Aggregate Testing:

Aggregate testing is not confined to a single geographical location. Different regions may face unique challenges and requirements. This section provides a global perspective, highlighting variations in testing practices, standards, and considerations in different parts of the world. Understanding these global perspectives enriches the knowledge base of construction professionals, fostering a more holistic approach to aggregate testing.

Environmental Considerations in Aggregate Selection:

As sustainability becomes a paramount concern in construction, this section examines the environmental aspects of aggregate selection. From the extraction process to the end of the life cycle, understanding the ecological footprint of aggregates contributes to the development of eco-friendly construction practices.

Challenges and Solutions in Aggregate Testing:

No testing methodology is without its challenges. This section identifies common issues faced during aggregate testing and proposes viable solutions. From variations in testing conditions to potential discrepancies in results, addressing these challenges ensures the reliability and accuracy of aggregate durability assessments.


In conclusion, the Los Angeles abrasion test stands as a cornerstone in the evaluation of aggregate durability for road construction. This comprehensive guide has explored the principles, apparatus, testing procedure, and implications of the test, offering construction professionals a robust foundation for informed decision-making. From recommended values for different pavement types to global perspectives and environmental considerations, this guide transcends the basics, providing a holistic understanding of aggregate testing. As the construction industry continues to evolve, staying abreast of advancements, challenges, and educational resources ensures that professionals contribute to the creation of resilient and sustainable infrastructure, driving progress in the field.

Scroll to Top