How to Cool Concrete in the Summer, and Why it’s Important

Concrete Pour at PCL Jobsite with SmartRock
Concrete Pour at PCL Jobsite with SmartRock

Summer is a busy time for the construction industry. The warm months present a chance to get a lot done, and avoid the extensive challenges that come with cold weather concreting. However, those exceptionally hot summer days can also affect the safety and durability of your structure if you do not take measures to cool your concrete when hot weather concreting. Monitoring the temperature of your in-situ concrete during hot weather is very important, as it directly affects strength development. ACI defines hot weather concreting as “one or a combination of the following conditions that tends to impair the quality of freshly mixed or hardened concrete by accelerating the rate of moisture loss and rate of cement hydration, or otherwise causing detrimental results: high ambient temperature; high concrete temperature; low relative humidity; and high wind speed.”

Why Concrete Cooling is Important

The impact of hot weather on concrete can have serious consequences which may become irreparable. Your structure can lose durability if the temperature during hydration is too high due to an early peak in strength gain. One risk you may encounter during hot weather concreting is concrete shrinkage. Shrinkage may be defined as “the reduction of concrete volume due to the loss of moisture” (The Constructor). This problem occurs when concrete loses moisture after it has hardened, and it can cause cracks and create an unsafe structure.

5 Tips for Hot Weather Concreting

There are a variety of methods and tools that can help cool concrete in summer. Here are some tips to keep in mind for cooling concrete:

  1. Keep coarse aggregates cool by storing them in the shade or with mist,
  2. Use cold mixing water,
  3. Substitute some water with ice,
  4. Cool down the cement – cement is stocked in silos, and often retains high temperatures from the factory,
  5. Pour concrete at night/outside of peak temperatures.

Learn more about monitoring curing temperatures in hot and cold weather here!

The Giatec Solution for Hot Weather Concreting

The temperature of your concrete is not the same as the ambient temperature. Factors like humidity and wind can also impact the curing process. Usually, you want to keep the temperature of your concrete under 160°F (70°C). For this reason, finding a solution to accurately monitor the temperature of your placed concrete and choosing the right web concrete monitoring device is very important.

Giatec SmartHub next to a SmartRock sensor

SmartRock®

The easiest way to track the changing temperatures within your concrete is by using a fully embedded sensor like SmartRock. The sensors are easy to implement and highly reliable, logging internal temperatures every 15 minutes. With real-time data, you can make the right curing decisions for your structure. Gilchrist Construction Company utilized SmartRock sensors on a major bridge construction project, helping them shorten their timeline by 4 months! They began their project in March and were able to open the bridge by October of the same year. The sensors helped them consistently monitor temperatures throughout the hot summer months and to reduce the amount of labor used and break tests.

Read the full Gilchrist Construction case study!

Giatec 360™: Cloud-Based Dashboard

Giatec SmartRock 360 DashboardTo further improve efficiency, you can use Giatec 360, the world’s most advanced web-based dashboard for controlling and predicting the quality of concrete pours. This platform is an extension of the SmartRock app, and it allows you to plot data between multiple sensors, edit your mix calibration data, generate PDF/CSV reports for distribution, and monitor multiple projects at once. This includes temperature gradient analysis of mass pours. By implementing these technologies into your project this summer, you can achieve more with less time.

 

SmartHub™

Finally, by adding SmartHub you will be able to access all of the data from the SmartRock sensors, without actually being present on the jobsite. This can be a huge game changer, particularly if the jobsite is in an inconvenient location. In addition to this, SmartHub’s alert system will work with our Artificial Intelligence assistant, Roxi ™, to provide you with smart notifications when your concrete reaches certain temperature or strength thresholds. This will allow your team to move through the project quickly, but it will also keep your jobsite safe by notifying you of critical problems as soon as they occur.

Implementing the full Giatec Solution will help you finish your project faster and with less stress – so you can actually enjoy those summer months on and off the jobsite.

Sources

ACI

The Constructor

How to Cool Concrete in the Summer, and Why it’s Important

**Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on June 2020 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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