What is curing of concrete and which is the best way to cure concrete in a shorter time period during winter?

What is curing of concrete and which is the best way to cure concrete in a shorter time period during winter?

For any construction project, concrete is the essential element consisting of cement, sand, and water in suitable proportions. Concrete should be placed before it loses its plasticity and become hard. The process at which satisfactory temperature and moisture are maintained during cement hydration is known as the curing of concrete. 

Curing plays a vital role in concrete's strength and durability for a reasonable period of time. The process of curing becomes more challenging in the winter season. Concrete becomes vulnerable in winter and loses its overall strength and durability.

Tips to cure concrete in the weather of winter

1. Cement manufacturers should avoid using fly ash for cement production because it sets up slowly and generates less heat. 

2. For maximum strength and durability of concrete, it is necessary to protect concrete from freezing for the first 24 hours.

3. The concrete settles more slowly during winter. After finishing the concrete in cold weather, you need to wait for a while for all the bleeding water to evaporate. Since the concrete settles slowly in the cold, bleeding starts later and lasts longer.

4. Non Chloride accelerator acts as a shield and reduces the need for protection and heating of concrete.

5. Only add that much amount of water which is needed. In cold weather, freezing can damage the concrete.

6. It is best to abandon the idea of placing the concrete if the outdoor temperature is below 20 Degrees Fahrenheit (-6.67 degrees Celcius).

7. During cold weather, pre-heating the other elements like water and sand rather than heating the Portland Cement can ensure that the proper concrete temperature is present during the pour.

Different types of cement have different time periods for curing. The minimum period for curing concrete is 28 days. Make sure to cure the concrete at the given period of time. Nowadays, due to lack of time, curing can be achieved within 14 to 20 days through modern techniques. As per 456-2000, the curing period of ordinary portland cement should not be less than 7 days. Concrete manufacturers usually rely on cement manufacturers like Wonder Cement that provide quality cement. Following are some other methods which are prominently used all over the world. 

Ponding on concrete slabs:- This method is specially adapted for residential and commercial construction. The concrete surface of the floor slabs is divided into small ponds, and these ponds are filled with water continuously for 14 days.

Wet coverings on concrete:- This method is used for covering the columns, footings, and bottom surface of pillars with gunny bags.

Infrared Radiation:- This method is suitable for cold climatic conditions. The radiation applied to the concrete helps in increasing the initial temperature.

Hot mixing method:- In this method rising the temperature of concrete up to 32 degrees Celcius increases the strength of concrete by 20%.

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