The term “curing” is frequently used to describe the process by which hydraulic-cement concrete matures and develops hardened properties over time as a result of the continued hydration of the cement in the presence of sufficient water and heat.
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While all concrete cures to varying levels of maturity with time, the rate at which this development takes place depends on the natural environment surrounding the concrete, and the measures taken to modify this environment by limiting the loss of water, heat, or both, from the concrete, or by externally providing moisture and heat. The word “curing” is also used to describe the action taken to maintain moisture and temperature conditions in a freshly placed cementitious mixture to allow hydraulic-cement hydration and, if applicable, pozzolanic reactions to occur so that the potential properties of the mixture may develop.
Current curing techniques are presented; commonly accepted methods, procedures, and materials are described. Methods are given for curing pavements and other slabs on ground, for structures and buildings, and for mass concrete. Curing methods for several specific categories of cement-based products are discussed in this document. Curing measures, in general, are specified in ACI 308.1. Curing measures directed toward the maintenance of satisfactory concrete temperature under specific environmental conditions are addressed in greater detail by Committees 305 and 306 on Hot and Cold Weather Concreting, respectively, and by ACI Committees 301 and 318.
Free download ACI 308R-01-Guide to Curing Concrete