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Concrete

Q&A
High Temperature of Mixing Water

Q.
What is the influence of 134°F (57°C) water on a 2. Klieger, P., “Effect of Mixing and Curing Temperature on
concrete mixture, especially slump and air Concrete Strength,” ACI Journal Proceedings, V. 54, No. 6, June 1958,
content? pp. 1063-1081.
3. “Concrete Manual,” eighth edition, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation,

A.
According to Section 4.5 of ACI 305R-10,1 high Denver, CO, 1975, 627 pp.
water temperatures cause higher concrete 4. ACI Committee 306, “Guide to Cold Weather Concreting (ACI
temperatures; and as the concrete temperature 306R-16),” American Concrete Institute, Farmington Hills, MI, 2016, 8 pp.
increases, more water is needed to obtain the same slump. If
the water content is increased to maintain the desired slump,
the water-cementitious materials ratio (w/cm) will increase,
and “the strength, durability, watertightness, and other related
properties of the concrete” will decrease. Section 4.5.3 also
states that “the temperature of the mixing water has the
greatest effect per unit weight on the temperature of concrete”
because the specific heat of water is about 4 to 5 times that of
cement or aggregates. The effect of concrete temperature on
slump is illustrated in Fig. 1, while Fig. 2 shows the effect of
the temperature increase on water requirements of concrete.
Per Section 5.3 of ACI 306R-16,4 early contact with hot
water can cause flash set and formation of cement balls in
truck mixers. When mixing water is above 140°F (80°C), the
guide recommends that the coarse aggregate and hot water are
added before the cement. It further recommends stopping or
slowing the addition of water as the cement and aggregate are
loaded. Also, if an air-entraining admixture (AEA) is used, it
should be added after the water temperature has decreased due
to contact with the cooler ingredients. This is a change from
Fig. 1: Effect of concrete temperature on slump (after Fig. 4.5 in
normal practice, but it limits the negative effect of hot water
ACI 305R-10 based on Reference 2)
on an AEA. Section 5.3 of the guide also indicates that the
resulting concrete mixing temperatures should be within the
limits discussed in Section 5.2. If the air temperature ranges
from 0 to 30°F (−18 to −1°C), for example, the recommended
maximum concrete mixing temperature is 80°F (26°C). In
addition, that section notes that the water should be maintained
at a consistent temperature because “temperature fluctuations
can result in variable characteristics between batches.”4

References
1. ACI Committee 305, “Guide to Hot Weather Concreting (ACI
305R-10),” American Concrete Institute, Farmington Hills, MI, 2010,
23 pp.

Questions in this column were asked by users of ACI documents and have
been answered by ACI staff or by a member or members of ACI technical
committees. The answers do not represent the official position of an ACI
Fig. 2: Effect of temperature increase on water requirement of
committee. Comments should be sent to rex.donahey@concrete.org.
concrete (after Fig. 4.6 in ACI 305R-10 based on Reference 3)

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