Curing is a process followed to maintain adequate moisture content and temperature in concrete at an early age. It is imperative for curing as it develops properties the mixture was primarily designed to achieve.
Immediately after finishing and placement of the concrete mix, the curing process begins. Curing the concrete helps develop the required durability and desired strength.
As mentioned above, maintaining adequate moisture supply and temperature is required without which the cementitious materials in concrete will not be able to react to form the desired quality construction material.
Drying can remove the water needed for this chemical reaction preventing the concrete from achieving its potential properties. During the progression of the cement hydration reaction, concrete will eventually change its state from a fluid to a rigid state.
Another important factor for proper curing is maintaining the temperature, as the rate of hydration and strength develops faster at higher temperatures. For an adequate rate of strength development, the concrete temperature should be maintained above 50 degrees Fahrenheit which is 10-degree Celsius. Furthermore, it is important to maintain a uniform temperature all through the concrete section while it is in the process of gaining strength thus avoiding thermal cracking.
Weather conditions such as windy weather and relative humidity are also important for exposed concrete as they contribute to the rate of moisture content loss from the concrete, thereby resulting in lack of durability, cracking & poor surface quality.
To prevent plastic shrinkage cracking, protective measures need to be taken to control the evaporation of moisture from concrete surfaces before it sets.
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Concrete is an important construction material used in construction and concrete’s strength and durability greatly lie and is influenced by curing. Concrete curing in construction has to be done for complete hydration of cement to take place or else the full strength required will not be achieved.
Proper curing is highly essential and curing- duration for effectiveness results in:
Increased strength of concrete will help build a strong building structure.
Improved wear-resistant and weather-resistant properties to withstand different weather conditions, and
Increased impermeability and durability to sustain.
This curing of concrete is supposed to be started as soon as the initial setting time of the concrete has been reached and has to be carried out for a reasonable amount of time. It is based on the specified quality standards to be able to achieve its required strength and desired durability, to ensure it serves as a suitable construction material for any construction. In construction, brickwork should be left for at least seven days for curing, and reinforced cement concrete should be left for at least 15 days for curing. Curing will not be required during the rainy season.