Curing-concreteCuring plays an important role on strength development and durability of concrete. Curing takes place immediately after concrete placing and finishing, and involves maintenance of desired moisture and temperature conditions, both at depth and near the surface, for extended periods of time. Properly cured concrete has an adequate amount of moisture for continued hydration and development of strength, volume stability, resistance to freezing and thawing, and abrasion and scaling resistance.

The length of adequate curing time is dependent on the following factors:

  • Mixture proportions
  • Specified strength
  • Size and shape of concrete member
  • Ambient weather conditions
  • Future exposure conditions

Slabs on ground (e.g. pavements, sidewalks, parking lots, driveways, floors, canal linings) and structural concrete (e.g. bridge decks, piers, columns, beams, slabs, small footings, cast-in-place walls, retaining walls) require a minimum curing period of seven days for ambient temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit1.

American Concrete Institute (ACI) Committee 301 recommends a minimum curing period corresponding to concrete attaining 70 percent of the specified compressive strength2. The often specified seven-day curing commonly corresponds to approximately 70 percent of the specified compressive strengths. The 70 percent strength level can be reached sooner when concrete cures at higher temperatures or when certain cement/admixture combinations are used. Similarly, longer time may be needed for different material combinations and/or lower curing temperatures. For this reason, ACI Committee 308 recommends the following minimum curing periods3:

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