Non-Conventional Curing Methods in Concrete Construction
Cement is the main ingredient of the concrete which binds all the ingredients in the concrete. It reacts with water and binds all the ingredients. When cement mix with the water, it generates heat which is known as the heat of hydration. It is because of the high quantity of Alite and tri–Calcium Aluminate in Cement. This is also affected by water contain, fineness, and curing temperature. The produced heat does not affect the hardening of concrete. After initial hardening, the hydration affects concrete and if heat is not regulated, it will reduce the strength of the concrete. Water is most important for concrete to control the hydration in the hardening process. Curing is water provided for hydration.
There are various conventional and non-conventional curing methods used to cure the concrete. The non-conventional methods are not very popular as they required a special atmosphere and are relatively expensive. This is the information about non-conventional curing methods.
Non-Conventional Curing Methods
1. Curing by Immersion Method
This is the most acceptable and one of the best water curing methods. The concrete product is poured in the curing tank. This fulfills the moisture requirement of the product. This is used for pre-cast concrete tiles, pavers, etc. are placed in the curing tank for a certain time period.
Sometimes this method is not applicable when the concrete is a test specimen or is in small pre-cast units. There are more labors required for handling.
2. Electrical Curing
In Electrical Curing, the alternating current is passed through concrete between two electrodes. These electrodes are buried or on the surface of the concrete. Proper care is required so the moisture does not evaporate from the concrete and make it dry.
This casting process is performed during work hours and accelerated curing takes place after working hours.
Electric curing is widely used in cold climate regions. This is not an economic option to use. There are skilled workers and continuous monitoring is required.
3. Infra-red Radiation Concrete Curing
The Infrared radiation increases the temperature of concrete so it can get immediate strength. This method is widely used for curing hollow concrete products like hollow concrete blocks. The normal operating temperature is maintained at about 90 o C.
The strength can be gained in a short time compared to steam curing. Initial high temperature has not decreased the strength like steam curing at normal pressure.
Infrared radiation is cold regions like Russia.
These non-conventional techniques are only used in special cases as they require special attention and care. The concrete construction does not get the required strength if the curing is done properly. The improper or inadequate curing gives lower strength to concrete and decreases the performance. Ensure the proper curing of the concrete for sufficient time.