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Original article

Effect of Curing Methods in Hot Weather on the Properties of High-Strength


Abdullah.M. Zeyad

PII: S1018-3639(17)30007-7
Reference: JKSUES 245

To appear in: Journal of King Saud University - Engineering Sci-


Received Date: 11 January 2017

Accepted Date: 30 April 2017

Please cite this article as: Zeyad, Abdullah.M., Effect of Curing Methods in Hot Weather on the Properties of High-
Strength Concretes, Journal of King Saud University - Engineering Sciences (2017), doi:

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Effect of Curing Methods in Hot Weather on the Properties of High-
Strength Concretes
Abdullah. M. Zeyad

Civil Engineering Department, Jazan University, Saudi Arabia

Corresponding author. Tel.: +966 599474644. E-mail address:;

ABSTRACT The properties of high-strength concrete (HSC) are

significantly influenced by environmental conditions and the duration
Compressive Strength; of the curing method. This paper presents an experimental study that
Curing methods; investigated the influence of three types of curing methods during hot
High strength concrete; weather on the properties of hardened HSC reinforced with 0.0% or
Hot weather; 0.22% (by volume fraction) polypropylene fibers (PFs). HSC
Polypropylene fibers samples were cured via water immersion under indoor laboratory
conditions; wet-coverage with a wet gunny under outdoor conditions;
and spraying with water twice day for one week under outdoor
conditions. The concrete mixture was designed to achieve
compressive strength beyond 60 MPa after 28 days of curing via
water immersion. Various tests were conducted to determine HSC
properties, including slump, compressive, indirect tensile and flexural
strengths. Cubes, cylinders, and prisms were cast with each concrete
mixture to measure strength at 7, 14, 28, and 90 days of curing.
Compressive strength under all curing conditions with and without
PF reinforcement exceeded 60 MPa at 28 days. PF-reinforced
concrete cured via water immersion exhibited the best concrete

1. Introduction cement content that exceeds 550 kg/m3

increases plastic shrinkage deformation in
Thirty years ago, high-strength concrete (HSC)
concrete (ACI, 2010; Burg and Ost, 1994;
was defined as concrete with a compressive
Neville, 1995). The incorporation of fibers into
strength of 40 MPa. the American Concrete
concretes improves properties and overcomes
Institute (ACI) code later revised the definition
plastic shrinkage deformation by enhancing
of HSC with the specific design strength of 56
tensile strength, ductility, and toughness and
MPa or more (ACI, 2010; Caldarone, 2009;
decreasing the effects of external influences.
Chang, 2004). As reported by Neville, a high
Boulekbache et al. reported that incorporating efficiency of curing is based on the type of
polypropylene fibers (PFs) into concrete curing, type of sample cured, and the
decreases shrinkage deformation when environment and duration of curing. In
concretes are cured at 50 °C or lower addition, the influence of curing method on
(Alhozaimy et al., 1996; Banthia and Gupta, strength is highly influenced by exposure to
2006; Bouziadi et al., 2016). Many researchers environmental and storage conditions without
have reported that adding fiber to concretes at or with sprinkling water indoors or outdoors.
the volumetric ratios of 0.2% to 1.5% improves The difference in the influences of curing
the engineering properties and strength of methods is only noticeable in concrete samples
ordinary concrete (Al Qadi et al., 2011; Al Qadi that have been stored indoors. Furthermore,
and Al-Zaidyeen, 2014; Banthia and Gupta, studies have reported that for all curing
2006; Mohamed, 2006). Therefore, the regimes, the strength of concrete specimens
application of optimum curing conditions to stored in the outdoor environment is less than
concrete at an early age is crucial to gain those of concrete stored indoors (ACI, 2006;
strength and decrease bleeding and plastic Al-Gahtani, 2010; Austin et al., 1992;
shrinkage. Concrete strength results from the Bushlaibi and Alshamsi, 2002; Ibrahim et al.,
reaction between cement compounds and water. 2013; Nassif et al., 2005). In this study, the
The properties of concrete improve with age as performance of curing methods on high-
long as the curing conditions maintain the strength concretes (HSCs) with and without
internal moisture content of cement above 80%. PFs was evaluated in a hot environment. In this
The evolution of concrete strength is arrested study, cement samples were cured inside
when internal moisture content decreases below (indoor) and outside (outdoor) the laboratory.
80%; the development of concrete strength is The water immersion method was performed
reactivated when moisture content increases indoors by immersing the specimens in a water
again (ACI, 2006; Kosmatka et al., 2002). tank until test age. The second curing method
Thus, the concrete curing method of water was performed outdoors by covering the
immersion (immersing samples in a water tank sample with wet gunny. The third curing
at 20 °C ± 2 °C under 100% relative humidity) method was performed laboutdoors by
maintains high moisture content until the spraying the sample with water twice a day for
required strength is achieved. Other methods, one week.
however, may perform the same purpose while
2. Materials and methods
consuming less water. Several studies have
previously investigated the efficiency of curing 2.1. Materials
methods (Austin et al., 1992; Gayarre et al., 2.1.1. Cement and silica fumes
2014). Many researchers have reported that the
Table 1 chemical and physical properties of cement and silica fume.
Ordinary (ASTM,
Oxide composition Abbreviation Cement Silica fume
Portland 2004).
Chemical composition
cement Lime CaO 63.68 0.94 Table 1
was used Silica SiO2 20.68 94.1 presents
in the Alumina AL2O3 6.12 0.09 the
Iron Oxide Fe2O3 3.8 0.1
present Sulphate SO3 2.68 2.32 chemical
investigat Soda Na2O 0.29 0.22 compositi
ion. Potassa K2O 0.42 0.93 on and
Magnesia MgO 1.21 0.64
Cement physical
Physical properties
characteri Specific Surface area ( m2/Kg) 322 16200 characteris
zation specific gravity 3.15 2.24 tics of
Compressive strength
tests 21.3 - cement
of mortar 14- days, MPa
were and silica
conducted in accordance with ASTM C150 fumes.

Table 2 Grading of coarse and fine aggregate. Table 3 Physical properties of polypropylene
% Passing by weight Properties Fiber
Sieve size
(mm) Fine Coarse Density 0.91 kg/l
aggregate aggregate Fiber length 12 mm
19 100 100
Fiber diameter 18 micron
12.5 100 95
Softening point 160 °C
9.5 100 66.3
Specific surface area 200 m2/ kg
4.75 96.4 4.3
Tensile strength
2.36 92.5 1.4 350 MPa
1.18 78.4 0
0.60 40.8 0
0.30 11.6 0
0.15 3.1 0
Fineness -
2.1.2. Aggregates 0.9%, respectively.
A crushed basalt rock with a maximum Fine Aggregate
nominal size of 12.5 mm was used as the coarse
The particle shapes and grade of FAs are
aggregate and local natural sand was used as
the fine aggregate (FA). The coarse and fine important factors in high strength concrete

aggregates each had a specific gravity of 2.63 (HSC) production. In this investigation, natural

and 2.71 and water absorptions of 0.6% and desert sand, which conforms to ASTM C33
specifications (ASTM, 2004) was used. Table curing is shown in Table 1. In this study, the
3 illustrates the grading analysis of FA. optimal ratio of PFs was used. Several studies Coarse Aggregate have reported that the optimum volumetric ratio
Table 4 shows that the grade of the coarse of PF that improves the properties of concrete
aggregate conforms to ASTM C33 is 0.22%.
specifications (ASTM, 2004). The specific
2.3. Preparation and casting of specimens
gravity, sulfate content, and the absorption of
In this investigation, the required quantities of
coarse aggregate are illustrated in Table2.
materials were weighed for the correct mixing
2.1.3. Polypropylene fibers. proportions. Then, cement was mixed with fly
In this investigation, 12 mm PFs were used. ash. The mixture was added to the coarse and fine
Some of their physical properties are provided aggregates. Then, all of the materials were mixed
in Table 3. while dry for two minutes. Water was added to
the mixtures in two stages: Half of the amount of
2.1.4. Superplasticizer
water was initially added at the start of concrete
High-reduce water range (HRWR)
mixing. The remaining water was then added after
superplasticizer, a new generation of
30 s of concrete mixing. To obtain a
copolymer-based superplasticizer (SP)
homogeneous mixture, the concrete was
designed for the production of self-compacting
continuously mixed for 3 min after the addition of
concrete (Viscocret 5030), was used in this
water. The casting immediately followed mixing,
after carrying out the tests for fresh properties.
The top surface of the specimens was scraped to
2.2. Mix proportions
remove excess material and to achieve a smooth
The mix proportions of HSC were designed
finish. The specimens were removed from molds
based on the ACI method and the guidelines
after 24 h of storage under laboratory conditions.
provided in ACI 211.1 (ACI, 1991 ). Mix
Storage conditions were in accordance with
proportions were designed to achieve HSCs
ASTM C192. The specimens were then cured for
with compressive strengths that exceed 60 MPa
the indicated durations until testing time (ASTM
when cured via water immersion method for 28
C192, 2002).
days, as shown in Table 4. Water immersion

Table 4 Mix proportion of high-strength concrete.

Mix proportion (kg/m3)
Superplas Polypropy
Materials Cement Water Gravel Sand Fly ash
ticizer lene fibers
HSC 544.5 183 975 583 83.2 8.32 0
HSCF 544.5 183 975 583 83.2 8.32 2
HSC: high strength concrete with polypropylene fiber
HSCF: high strength concrete without polypropylene fiber

one week. The concrete strength of samples

cured via these methods were compared with
those of samples cured via water immersion
under standard laboratory conditions of 23 °C
2.4. Curing methods ± 2 °C and relative humidity of 100%. Fig. 2
Relative humidity, temperature, and wind shows the outdoor maximum and minimum
speed varied when concrete was cured temperatures, average relative humidity, and
outdoors, whereas these factors were constant wind speed during the curing period of the
when concrete was cured indoors. The present specimens.
study investigated the compressive, indirect Where,
tensile and flexural strengths of HSC and 1) HSCi: HSC without PF cured via water
HSCF that were cured using three curing immersion method
2) HSCw: HSC without PF cured via wet gunny
methods for 90 days during hot weather. method
3) HSCs: HSC without PF cured via water spraying
During the curing period, the environmental method
outdoor conditions were as follows: 4) HSCFi: HSC with PF cured via water immersion
temperature between 20 °C and 33 °C, relative 5) HSCFw: HSC with PF cured via wet gunny
humidity of 51% to 76%, and wind speed of 2
6) HSCFs: HSC with PF cured via water spraying
km/h to 26 km/h.Outdoor curing involved method
7) i: water immersion method
covering the specimens with a wet gunny or 8) w: wet gunny method
spraying the specimens with water twice a day 9) s: water spraying method

at approximately 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. for

(a) Immersion in water. (b) Wet gunny. (c) Spraying water.

Humidity (%)

0 7 14 21 28 35 42 49 56 63 70 77 84 91 98
Period of curing (day)
Wind ( Km/h)

0 7 14 21 28 35 42 49 56 63 70 77 84 91 98
Period of curing (day)

Max. Temp. [˚C] Min. Temp. [ °C]


0 7 14 21 28 35 42 49 56 63 70 77 84 91 98
Period of curing ( day)

Figure 1 Curing methods.

Figure 2 Data of outside-lab weather (Temperatures, Relative humidity and Wind speed) during the
curing period. (

2.5. Testing of the specimens mm x 150 mm x 150 mm. Indirect tensile tests
The HSC and HSCF properties of fresh were conducted in accordance with ASTM
concrete slump test were determined via slump C496. The dimensions of the standard cylinder
test in accordance with ASTM C143. The were 150 D x 300 H mm. Flexural tests were
compressive, indirect tensile and flexural conducted in accordance with ASTM C78. The
strength of hardened concrete samples were dimensions of the standard prisms were 100
tested in accordance with BS 1881: Part 116 mm x 100 mm x 500 mm. All tests were carried
using standard cubes with dimensions of 150 out on days 7, 14, 28, and 90 of curing. The
average value of the three specimens for each spraying water method. Compared with the
test age was determined and recorded. water immersion method, the wet gunny
method decreased compressive strength by
11.7%, 7.3%, and 7.9% at days 14, 28, and 90
3. Results and discussion of curing, respectively. At day 7 of curing, the

3.1. Fresh concrete tests compressive strength of concrete cured via the
wet gunny method slightly increased by 3.6%.
Table 5 shows the results of the slump test of
The increase in concrete strength may be
HSC and HSCF mixtures. Adding PFs to
attributed to hot weather with high humidity,
concrete mixtures decreased the slump test
which increased the rate of cement hydration
value of HSCF by 10.5% compared with those
during the early stage of curing. In addition, the
of HSC mixtures without PF.
decline in rates of HSC and HSCF increased
the compressive strength of samples cured via
Table 5 Slump test.
Mix Slump (mm) water spraying method compared with those of
HSC 190 samples cured via water immersion. Concrete
HSCF 170 strength at days 7, 14, 28, and 90 of curing
decreased by 5.6%, 13.8%, 13.2%, and 12.3%,
3.2. Compressive strength
respectively. Considering the percentage of
Figures 3, 4, and 5 the compressive strength of
reduction in compressive strength during the
HSCs cured using three different curing
design stage, the water immersion method
methods. As shown in Fig. 2, HSCs cured via
provides the best result in terms of concrete
water immersion under lab conditions at 23 °C
strength compared with wet gunny and water
±2 °C and 100% humidity had higher
spraying methods. Moreover, the percentage of
compressive strength compared with those
reduction in the compression strength of
cured via outdoor curing methods. Concrete
concrete may change depending on temperature
specimens cured via wet gunny method had
and relative humidity. The temperature and
higher compressive strength than those cured
relative humidity during this study are shown in
via water spraying. Figures 3 and 4 show
Fig. 2. Figure 4 provides the compressive
compressive strength development in HSC and
strength of PF-reinforced HSCs. Curing
HSCF concrete samples that were cured via the
methods have the same effect on the strength of
three different methods. Compressive strength
PF-reinforced HSC, as discussed above. In
continued increasing until day 90 of curing.
addition, results show that the most effective
Maximum compressive strength reached 74
curing method is water immersion, followed by
MPa when HSCF was cured via water
wet gunny, and then by water spraying. The
immersion. The minimum compressive strength
present results enhance the value of the
was 64.9 MPa in HSC cured for 90 days via
information obtained for HSC cured via the cured for 90 days via water immersion, wet
same methods as HSCF (Al-Gahtani, 2010; gunny, and water spraying methods were 3.2%,
Bouziadi et al., 2016; Ibrahim et al., 2013). The 7.9%, and 1%, respectively. These results
effects of curing methods on HSCF are further confirmed that the addition of 0.1% to
identical to those on HSC. Adding PFs to the 0.4% (volumetric ratio) PFs improves the
concrete mix slightly increased the compressive compressive strength of conventional concrete
strength of HSCF. The increase in the concrete and HSCs (Bouziadi et al., 2016).
strength of HSCF compared with that of HSC
80 80

Compressive strength
Compressive strength

70 70
60 60

(MPa) G
(MPa) G

30 40
20 30
10 20
7 days 14 days 28 days 90 days 7 days 14 days 28 days 90 days
HSCi 55.3 70.9 72.6 74 HSCFi 51.2 63 73.5 76.4
HSCw 57.3 62.6 67.3 68.1 HSCFw 55 60.7 70 73.5
HSCs 52.2 61.1 63 64.9 HSCFs 52.8 59.2 63.5 64.2

Figure 3 Results of Compressive Strengths Figure 4 Results of Compressive Strengths Tests

Tests (HSC). (HSCF).
Compressive strength

70 7 days
(MPa) 0

60 14 days
28 days
90 days
Figure 5 Results of Compressive Strengths Tests.

3.3. Indirect tensile strength the best results compared with other treatment
Figs. 6, 7, and 8 show the results obtained from methods. Furthermore, the addition of fiber the
the indirect tensile tests of HSC and HSCF concrete mixtures led to the improved results of
samples at the test ages of 7, 14, 28, and 90 indirect tensile test. Accordingly, HSCF
days. The indirect tensile results illustrated that improved more than HSC when the curing
the various methods of concrete curing exerted methods; immersion in water, wet coverage,
different effects on the strength of HSC and and spraying water; were applied: 14.1%,
HSCF mixtures (Akinpelu et al., 2017). In this 10.2%, and 8.9% at 90-day age test,
study, the water immersion methods achieved respectively.
6 6

Indirect tensile strength

Indirect tensile strength 5 5
4 4

(MPa) G
(MPa) G
2 2
7 days 14 days 28 days 90 days 1
7 days 14 days 28 days 90 days
HSCi 4.61 5.32 5.45 5.53
HSCFi 5.66 6.01 6.22 6.31
HSCw 4.52 5.14 5.33 5.46
HSCFw 5.41 5.74 5.93 6.02
HSCs 4.45 4.92 5.14 5.35
HSCFs 4.61 5.17 5.64 5.83

Figure 6 Results of Indirect Tensile Strengths Figure 7 Results of Indirect Tensile Strengths
Tests (HSC). Tests (HSCF).

Indirect Tensile
strngth (MPa)

7 days
14 days
2 28 days
90 days
Figure 8 Results of Indirect Tensile Strengths Tests.

HSCF negligibly improved compared with

3.4. Flexural strength those of HSC by 3%, 2.9%, and 2.7% when
Figures 9, 10, and 11 show the flexural strength cured for 90 days via water immersion, wet
test results for HSC and HSCF samples at test gunny, and water spraying methods. Many
ages of 7, 14, 28, and 90 days. The flexural researchers have suggested that the tensile and
strength results illustrated that different curing flexural strengths of concrete improve with the
methods exerted different effects on the addition of PFs because the added fibers
strength of HSC and HSCF mixtures. In this improve tensile resistance. The effects of PF
study, the water immersion method achieved addition to concrete will vary based on several
the best results compared with other methods. factors, including the ratio of fibers and their
Adding fibers to concrete mixtures improved properties (Alhozaimy et al., 1996; Bouziadi et
flexural strength. Accordingly, the properties of al., 2016; Madandoust et al., 2015).
7 7

Flexural strength

Flexural strength
6 6
5 5

(MPa) G

(MPa) G
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
7 days 14 days 28 days 90 days 7 days 14 days 28 days 90 days
HSCi 5.03 6.1 7.02 7.12 HSCFi 5.12 6.22 7.17 7.34
HSCw 4.93 5.31 6.41 7.01 HSCFw 5.05 6.13 6.7 7.22
HSCs 4.74 5.63 6.12 6.58 HSCFs 4.82 5.93 6.23 6.76

Figure 9 Results of Flexural Strength Tests of

Figure 10 Results of Flexural Strength Tests of

Flexural strength

6 7 days
(MPa) 0

4 14 days
28 days
90 days

Figure 11 Results of Flexural Strength Tests.

4. Conclusions methods should be tested in hot weather to

1. HSCs with compressive strength that exceeded obtain satisfactory results.

60 MPa were feasibly produced in hot weather

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