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Jahangir MIRZA
Visiting Faculty
Dept. of Agriculture Engineering
University of Engineering & Technology

Spring 2011

Concrete at early ages
Properties of concrete
Fresh concrete
Hardened concrete

Concrete at early ages

Batching, mixing and conveying concrete
mixture from the point it is made to job site
Placing the plastic concrete at the job site
Compacting and finishing while the concrete
mixture still workable
Moist curing to achieve desired maturity
Removal of formwork, if any

Batching of concrete ingredients

By weight of ingredients (problem damp sand)
In Pakistan ??? (1:2:4 by volume)
No problem with liquids (water, admixtures)
batched accurately by volume or weight
In many countries, concrete today is mostly
batched and mixed by ready-mixed concrete
plants, where batching is generally automatic or
1966 1980, manually batched concrete
reduced from 54% to < 25% in USA

Mixing of concrete
Sequence of charging ingredients into mixers:
very important in the uniformity of finished
Sequence can be varied depends on
adjustments in time when water is added, total
number of revolutions of mixer drum, speed of
revolution, etc.

Conveying/transportation of concrete
As quickly as possible to minimize stiffening
Under normal conditions, negligible consistency
loss during first 15-30 minutes after the beginning
of cement hydration
Place and consolidate within 90-120 minutes
After placement, easy consolidation and proper

Long distance, chemical admixtures for hot and

cold climates

Placing of concrete
Place as near or directly to its final position
Concrete deposited in horizontal layers of
uniform thickness
Each layer thoroughly compacted before the
next is placed
Rate of placement rapid while the layer
immediately below still plastic

Prevents flow lines, planes of weakness when

fresh concrete placed on hardened concrete

Consolidation/compaction of concrete
Process of molding concrete within forms and
around embedded parts to eliminate
entrapped air
Hand rodding and tamping
Mechanical methods: power tampers and
vibrators to place stiff mixtures with low W/C
or high coarse aggregate contents

Finishing of concrete
To produce dense surfaces to keep them maintenance free
Sequence of steps, which must be carefully coordinated
with the
setting and hardening of concrete mixture

Screeding: striking off excess concrete to bring top surface

to the desired grade
Floating: Flat wood or metal blades to firmly embed
aggregates, compacting the surface, and removing any
remaining imperfections

Brings the cement paste to surface, forms bleed-water sheen

weakens surfaces when floated too early or for too long

Steel-troweling: very smooth and highly wear resistant

Not done on surfaces already floated

Brooming or scoring: skid-resistant surfaces with a rake or a

steel-wire broom before concrete fully hardened

Curing of concrete
Strongly influence hardened concrete properties
durability, strength, water-tightness, wear resistance,
volume stability, resistance to freezing and thawing and
wetting and drying cycles
To promote cement hydration, consisting of control of
time, temperature and humidity conditions immediately
after placement of fresh concrete, i.e.,
To prevent loss of moisture
To control the concrete temperature for a period sufficient to
achieve desired strength level

Curing of concrete (contd)

Under normal temperature conditions:
Some OPC constituents begin to hydrate as soon as water is
Hydration reactions slow down when hydration products coat
the anhydrous cement grains
Why? Hydration proceeds satisfactorily only under internal
saturation conditions
Hydration stops when water vapor pressure in pores falls < 80%
of saturation humidity

Time and humidity important factors in hydration

processes controlled by water diffusion as well as

Curing of concrete (contd)


Moist-cured at 70oF

Compressive Strength, psi

Longer the moist curing period, higher the strength at a

given W/C

Curing of concrete (contd)

Time and humidity
In thin concrete elements, water loss by evaporation is
high, prevailing air curing conditions strength will not
increase with time as well as without humidity

Temperature conversion table

Curing of concrete (contd)


It influences strength depending on time-temp.

history of casting (placing) and curing:

Three cases
Case 1: Concrete cast and cured at same temp.
Case 2: Concrete cast at different temp. but cured
at normal temp.
Case 3: Concrete cast at normal temp. but cured
at different temps.

Curing of concrete (contd)

Cast and cure at specific temperature
Temperature range 5OC (40OF) to 45OC (115OF)
concrete cast and cured at specific constant

Up to 28 days, higher the temperature

Higher the cement hydration

Higher the strength gain

Curing of concrete (contd)

Cast at different temperatures, BUT cured at
normal temperatures

28-day strength at 40OF (5OC) will be around 80%

of that at 75OF (25OC) to 115OF (45OC)

At later ages, differences in cement hydration

reduced, such differences in concrete strength not
sustained, in fact, at higher temperatures,
ultimate strength will be lower

Curing of concrete (contd)

Curing of concrete (contd)

Cast at different temperatures, BUT cured at
normal temperatures
Concrete temperature after 2 hrs. making, varied
between 40 (5OC) and 115OF (45OC) , thereafter all
moist cured at constant temperature of 70OF

Ultimate strength (180 days) of concrete cast at

40 (5OC) or 55O (12-13OC) higher than others

Curing of concrete (contd)

Curing of concrete (contd)

Concrete cast at normal temperature, BUT cured at
different temperatures
Concrete cast at 70OF (22OC) and subsequently cured
from below freezing to 70OF (22OC)
Lower the curing temperatures, lower the strength up to
28 days
At curing temperatures near freezing, strength half than
70OF (22OC)
At curing temperature below freezing, strength almost nil.

Curing of concrete (contd)

Curing of concrete (contd)- Summary

Influence of time, humidity and temperature on
concrete strength has several important applications
Since curing temperature far more important to strength
than the cast (placement) temperature
Ordinary concrete placed in cold weather must maintain
above a certain minimum temperature for a long time
Concrete cured in summer or in tropical climate will have
higher early strength but lower ultimate strength than the
same concrete cured in winter or colder climate
In pre-cast concrete industry, steam curing is used to
accelerate strength to achieve quicker mold release (Qs)



Curing of concrete (contd)

Curing time required to obtain
near impermeable cement paste

Initial W/C

Wet cure duration


3 days


7 days


14 days


6 months


12 months

> 0.70


Curing methods of concrete

Methods that maintain the presence of mixing
water in concrete during early hardening period
Ponding or immersion
Spraying or fogging
Saturated wet coverings

Cooling through evaporation:

Beneficial in hot weather

Curing methods of concrete (contd)

Ponding or immersion
On flat surfaces pavements, sidewalks, floors,
etc., curing accomplished by immersion of finished
concrete, called ponding
Requires considerable labor and supervision,
method generally used for small jobs
Common in the laboratory for curing concrete test

Curing methods of concrete (contd)

Spraying or fogging
Continuous spraying or fogging water excellent
when ambient temperature well above freezing

Soaking hoses for vertical surfaces

Disadvantages: requires ample water supply and
careful supervision

Curing methods of concrete (contd)

Saturated wet coverings
burlaps, cotton mats, rugs, or other moist retaining fabrics
commonly used for curing
Sand or sawdust often useful for small jobs about 51 mm
thick layer evenly distributed over previously moistened
surface and kept continuously wet
Wet hay or straw to cure flat surfaces. Layer at least
152 mm thick, held down with wire, burlap, tarpaulin, or
other means to prevent being blown off by wind
Disadvantages of moist sand, sawdust, hay or straw
discoloring of concrete

Curing methods of concrete (contd)

Curing methods of concrete (contd)

Curing methods of concrete (contd)

Methods that prevent loss of mixing water
from concrete by sealing the surface
Impervious papers or
plastic sheets or
applying membrane-forming curing compounds

Curing methods of concrete (contd)

Impervious papers
2 sheets of kraft paper cemented together by a
bituminous adhesive with fiber reinforcement
Horizontal surfaces and structural concrete of
relatively simple shapes
Advantage periodic additions of water not

Curing methods of concrete (contd)

Curing methods of concrete (contd)

Plastic sheet
Material polyethylene
effective moisture barrier

easily applied to complex and simple shapes

White and black
White for exteriors during hot weather to reflect
suns rays
Black for cool weather or for interior locations

Curing methods of concrete (contd)

Curing methods of concrete (contd)

Membrane-forming curing compounds
Chlorinated rubber
2 types clear and white pigmented
Clear contain dye to assure complete coverage of
concrete surface fades away after application
White-pigmented reduce solar-heat gain and
temperature good for hot, sunny days

Curing methods of concrete (contd)

Curing methods of concrete (contd)

Steam curing

Early strength gain in concrete is important
Additional heat required for hydration as in cold weather
2 methods
curing in live steam at atmospheric pressure (for enclosed
cast-in-place structures and pre-cast concrete units
Curing in high-pressure-steam autoclaves (for small
manufactured units)

Curing methods of concrete (contd)

Steam-curing cycle
An initial delay prior to steaming
A period for increasing temperature

A period for holding maximum temperature constant

A period for decreasing temperature
Optimum temperature shown as follows

Curing methods of concrete (contd)

Curing methods of concrete (contd)

Insulating blankets or covers (cold weather)
Straw or hay used to provide insulation against
freezing of concrete at temperatures 32OF (0OC)
Formwork insulated with blankets made by
fiberglass, sponge rubber, cellulose fibers, mineral
wool, vinyl foam, open-cell polyurethane foam
Framed enclosures of canvas, reinforced
polyethylene film, etc., placed around structure and
heated by space heaters or steam

Curing period
Length of time required to protect concrete
against moisture loss depends:
Type of cement
Required strength

Ratio of exposed-surface area to volume of

Future exposed conditions

Curing period (contd)

3 weeks or longer for lean concrete mixtures
containing pozzolanic materials (used for
massive structures dams, piers, etc.)
Conversely, few days for richer mixtures
(Type III cement) and much shorter for steam
cured products

Curing period (contd)

Desired concrete properties improved by curing,
it must be as long as possible for practical
For concrete slabs (floors, pavements, patios,
parking lots, driveways, sidewalks) and

For structural concrete (cast-in-place walls, columns,

beams, small footings, piers, retaining walls, bridge
Minimum 7 days above 4OC or
Time necessary to attain 70% of specified compressive or
flexural strength

Curing period (contd)

Hydration rate depends: cement composition and
fineness, curing period
Prolonged for concrete made with cement having slow
strength gain (Qs)
For mass concrete (large piers, locks, abutments, dams,
heavy footings, massive columns, transfer girders), with no
pozzolanic materials, curing of unreinforced sections
minimum 2 weeks, with pozzolan 3 weeks

Heavily reinforced mass concrete minimum 7 days

Curing period (contd)

Cold weather
Additional temperature required to maintain
curing 50OF to 70OC (10OC to 21OC)
Supplied by vented gas- or oil fired heaters,
heating coils or fans, or live steam
High early strength concrete (Qs) used in cold
weather to speed setting time and strength
development curing reduced from 7 to 3
days, but minimum temperature 50OC (10OC)

Curing methods of concrete (Summary)

Ponding or immersion (Temperature well above
freezing) pavements, slabs, etc
Spraying or fogging or moisture retaining coverings
saturated with water burlaps, cotton (beneficial in
hot-weather concreting)

Water-proof curing paper, polyethylene sheets, or

membrane forming curing compounds prevent
moisture loss from concrete by sealing the surface
Insulating blankets in cold weather (to protect
concrete from freezing) strength gain rate
accelerated by steam, heating coils, or electrically
heated forms or pads

Properties of fresh concrete

Consolidation or compaction
Segregation (Bleeding)

Properties of fresh concrete (contd)

Ease or difficulty of placing, consolidating,
and finishing freshly mixed concrete
Should not segregate or bleed excessively
ASTM C125 Property determining the effort
required to manipulate a freshly mixed
concrete with minimum loss of homogeneity
Manipulate includes the early age operations
of placing, compacting, and finishing

Properties of fresh concrete (contd)

Index for mobility or flowability of freshly
mixed concrete to flow
Differs in degree of plasticity for different uses
in concrete
Measured by slump test (cone 300 mm high, 100
mm diameter top, 200 mm diameter bottom)

Slump loss: Loss of consistency in fresh concrete

with time (normal phenomenon gradual
stiffening and setting of hydrated PC paste) (Qs)

Properties of fresh concrete (contd)

Consolidation or compaction
Molding concrete within the form and around
embedded parts to eliminate pockets of
entrapped air
Hand rodding, tampering, vibration, etc.,

Properties of fresh concrete (contd)

Properties of fresh concrete (contd)

Properties of fresh concrete (contd)

Separation of components of fresh concrete so that they are
not uniformly distributed
2 kinds
A characteristic of dry concrete mixtures, consists of
separation of mortar from the body of concrete due to over
Bleeding - Movement of water to the top of the surface of
freshly placed concrete
Excessive bleeding increases W/C near the top surface and
forms a weak top layer thus reduces strength
Poor durability (cracks, spalling)

Properties of hardened concrete (contd)

Evaluated in Compression or in Flexure and values called
Compressive strength and flexural strength
Compressive strength of concrete primary property of
concrete and a factor needed for designing bridges,
buildings, and other structures
Compressive strength used as an index of flexural
strength an empirical relationship
Flexural strength 8 to 10 times the sq. root of
compressive strength; another is compressive strength to
the 0.79 power.

Properties of hardened concrete (contd)

Compressive strength
Measured by squeezing to break concrete and
divide by contact area
Generally expressed in psi or MPa at age of 28
Tests on cylinders and/or cubes

Properties of hardened concrete (contd)

Effect of low water/cement ratio
Water content: Why less is more?
Increase compressive and flexural strength (used for
designing and building of structures)
Increase water tightness (low permeability)
Low absorption
Increase resisting to weather
Better bond between successive layers as well as
concrete and reinforcement
Less volume change from wetting and drying
Reduce shrinkage and cracking



Properties of hardened concrete (contd)

Effect of low water/cement ratio on strength

Properties of hardened concrete (contd)

Strength vs aggregate size, W/C

Properties of hardened concrete (contd)

Strength vs W/C, moist curing age

Properties of hardened concrete (contd)

Strength vs W/C, entrained air, cement content on concrete strength

Properties of hardened concrete (contd)

Strength vs W/C, moist curing, cement type and air entrainment

Properties of hardened concrete (contd)

Erosion resistance
Closely related to strength
Low W/C and curing

Properties of hardened concrete (contd)

Erosion resistance

Properties of hardened concrete (contd)

Water tightness (Permeability)
Cement paste must be water tight
Adequate cement content
Well-graded aggregates
Low W/C
Good Curing


Properties of hardened concrete (contd)

Water tightness (Permeability)

Properties of hardened concrete (contd)

Freezing-thawing cycles
Most destructive weather factor in wet or
moist concrete Freezing-thawing cycles
Deterioration increases when combined with
deicing salts

air entraining admixtures

Properties of hardened concrete (contd)

Freezing-thawing cycles

Properties of hardened concrete (contd)

Freezing-thawing cycles and W/C

Properties of hardened concrete (contd)

Effect of entrained air and cement

content on concrete performance
Without entrained air

With entrained air

Properties of hardened concrete (contd)

Effect of weather on air entrained

and non-air entrained concrete
Non-air entrained

Air entrained

Properties of hardened concrete (contd)

Strength vs W/C of air and non-air entrained concrete

Recommended air contents

Normal maximum
size of coarse

Total air content



% vol. concrete




6 to 10
5 to 9
4 to 8
3 to 6
3 to 6
2 to 5
1 to 4

Durability of concrete
Its ability to resist physical, chemical, thermal
and biological process(es) of deteriorations (weathering
action, chemical attack, abrasion, etc.), i.e., durable
concrete should retain its original form, quality and
serviceability when exposed to its environment (ACI
committee 201)





Durability of concrete
Both creates and destructs many natural
materials (Pious (Q) and Poison (Q))
In porous solids physical process of deterioration
Vehicle for transportation of aggressive ions source
of chemical degradation
Physico-chemical phenomenon surface and internal
Rate of deterioration affected by concentration of
ions in water and chemical composition of solids
(e.g. alkaline concrete (pH = 12 14) and acidic water)

Causes of concrete Deteriorations



Causes of concrete Deteriorations contd..)

Overloads - uneven surfaces, collapse
of structures
Deformation imposed by different
settlement of foundations - cracking
and/or collapsing of structures
Fire damage and weakens structures

Overloaded tractor-trolley

Causes of concrete Deteriorations contd..)

Erosion -surface cavities and damage
Abrasion (photos 1, 2):
Wearing away of concrete due to abrasive action of tires,
flowing water and fine and coarse particles of sand, silt,
gravel and other solids
Dams, spillways (aprons), stilling basins, pipelines,
suction fans, slabs and cross joints, under lock gates,
irregular surfaces, roads, bridges, canals, runways, etc.,

high head dams
Collapse of vapor bubbles in flowing water
Pitting of surface around the hard coarse aggregate particles

Example abrasion-erosion

(photo 1)

Example abrasion-erosion

(photo 2)

Causes of concrete Deteriorations (contd..)

Acid attack leaching of cement paste, surface erosion
Chloride attack corrosion, spalling and cracks

Deicing salts - spalling and cracks severe scaling 2%

and 1%CaCl2 by weight of Q, non air-entrained
and air-entrained concrete, 2% NaCl for both concretes
(photo 3)
Sea water - corrosion, spalling, cracks, other damages
(photo 4)

Sulfate attack cracks, weakens concrete surface (photo 5)

AAR or ASR cracks, spalling (photos 6, 7)
MgO cracks
CaO cracks
Carbonation seepage, white deposition on surface
(photo 8) (mauratic acid)

Effect of deicing salts on concrete performance

Non-air entrained

photo 3

Air entrained

Causes of concrete Deteriorations (contd..)

Concrete cylinder exposed to seawater (photo 4)

Effect of sulfate soil concrete performance

Without entrained air

Photo 5

With entrained air

Typical polygonal cracks due to AAR

photo 6

Concrete damage due to corrosion and AAR photo 7

Leaching by carbonation photo 8

Causes of concrete Deteriorations (contd..)

Expansion/contraction due to temperature
change (deformation, cracking) (photo 9)
Freezing and thawing cycles (cracks, surface

Wetting and drying cycles (volume or length change:

moist - expansion, drying shrinkage)

External versus internal temperature variations

- cracking (Q which structures?)

Deformation expansion/contraction photo 9

Causes of concrete Deteriorations (contd..)

Sulphur (H2S to H2SO4) leaching and
expansion (photo 10)
Iron (Fe(OH)3) corrosion, spalling

Algea - aesthetic
Seeweeds - aesthetic

Causes of concrete Deteriorations (contd..)

Bacteria photo 10