Curing is a process in which concrete gains strength gradually with time when hydrated under reasonable temperature conditions. Setting of concrete involves an exothermic reaction in which moisture should not be lost from the concrete when it is gaining strength over a period of time or it shall develop cracks. The benefits of good curing are –
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- Concrete gains good strength when hydrated under ideal conditions. It has been found that if concrete is properly cured for 180 days it gains the maximum strength if allowed to dry immediately it attains only 40% of the desired strength.
- The Concrete becomes durable when cured properly and the life of the concrete increases.
- Early curing causes shrinkage, decreased strength and a lot of cracks in the concrete. The surface shall become weak and dusty over a period of time with poor resistance to abrasion.
- Good curing creates a good microstructure within the concrete. Calcium silicate hydrate gel is created steadily which enhances the physical and mechanical properties of the concrete.
Curing should be done immediately after the concrete is laid and should be continued for a reasonable period of time as per the relevant building standards. Protective measures should be taken to control and prevent any moisture loss from the surface.
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