Construction projects executed year around. There isn’t any particular season for construction speaking as such. However, during certain parts of the year, construction projects can be difficult to complete, mainly because of the weather conditions that tend to affect the process in various ways.
One such example is the effect of hot weather on the concreting process.
Concrete poured in hot weather requires special care and adjustments for it to properly settle, cure and achieve its optimum strength.If these adjustments are not made during the concreting process, the final structure is likely to lack in strength and durability.
What causes concrete to behave uncharacteristically in hot weather conditions?
To understand that, it’s vital that you know how concrete sets during the concreting process.
Concrete sets as cement hydrates. In simpler words, the cement in the concrete sucks up water and forms crystals around the aggregate particles leading to solidification. The cooler the cement, the longer this process takes and the more time crystals have to grow and strengthen.
So if you want to have a full strength concrete, you must keep the temperature of the cement low.
Unfortunately, during hot weather, the on-site conditions do not provide cement with ideal temperature settings. Because of the surrounding heat, cement heats up. As the cement heats up, the hydration rate increases, and even though concrete crystals are formed faster, they’re not able to achieve optimum strength.
The solution to hot-weather concreting problems lies in the steps taken to slow down the cement hydration reaction. Builders and construction engineers take additional steps to ensure that cement maintains low temperature during storage and concreting. For that, they either store cement in a cool place, cover the concreting area with a shed to ensure the cement remains protected from direct exposure to sun during the concreting process, or they schedule work as such that concreting is done during coolest parts of the day.
Where these strategies do work, they no doubt cause lots of inconvenience and unnecessary delays in the construction project.
Therefore, as an alternative, more builders and construction engineers are now turning their attention towards the use of precast concrete.
Precast concrete is your typical concrete, but one that is produced in controlled environment. Structural components (and sometimes even a complete structure) are produced in plants, and they are then delivered on-site where they are erected and raised. Since the entire concreting process is done in a controlled environment, weather conditions do not affect the process and the concrete gets enough time to settle and cure properly. The production process can even be customized to produce precast concrete as suited to specific requirements of a particular construction project.
Are you a construction engineer or a builder?
How do you cope against the challenges of hot weather concreting? Do you use precast concrete or do you employ the conventional on-site hot weather concreting techniques to make sure your concrete is properly settled and cured? Let us know in the comments section below; we’ll love to hear from you.
And while we are at it, check out our inventory of precast concrete products. If you use precast concrete or plan to use precast concrete in your construction projects, you’ll find every variety of precast concrete products at our store.