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Concrete In Cold Weather

11.1 Concrete in cold weather means concreting when ambient temperature is less than 5 0C. Provision of this chapter are applicable for upper Himalayan regions & during winter season in the country except the coastal areas. 11.2 It is better to avoid concreting when the atmospheric temperature is below 50C. When the temperature is continuously below 5 0 C, the weather is described as cold. If the concrete which has not yet set is allowed to freeze, the mixing water freezes, with a consequent increase in the overall volume of concrete. Further more because no water is available for chemical reaction, the setting and hardening of concrete are delayed. If freezing takes place after the concrete has set but before it has developed an appreciable strength, the expansion associated with the formation of ice causes disruption and an irreparable loss of strength. So, it is necessary that concrete acquires sufficient strength before it is subjected to freezing temperature, to resist the freezing without any damage. The table 11.1 may be used as guide. Table 11.1 Age of concrete at which exposure to frost does not cause damage. Age(hours) of concrete Type of cement W/C ratio preceding curing temperature 5C 100C 150C 200C 30 25 15 12 50 35 25 17 70 40 35 25 20 15 10 7 30 20 15 10 40 30 20 15

OPC Rapid Hardening Cement

0.4 0.5 0.6 0.4 0.5 0.6

11.3 The following aspects are to be taken care of during cold weather concreting. i) ii) iii) iv) Rapid hardening cement or grade53 cement with high cement content and low w/c ratio should be used. The C3S and C3A content should be higher. Pozzolana portland cement as per IS:1489 is also permitted. Hot water should be used for mixing, but the temperature should not be more than 60 0C. If water heating is not sufficient, the aggregate should also be heated but not more than 52 0C by passing steam through coils and not by passing steam. The temperature of the resultant concrete should be calculated in advance and. The temperature of the mixed concrete when discharged should be about (40 +50C). The concrete should set between 7 to 21 0C.



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70C when air temp is no lower than 1 0C and concrete element is thick. 210C when air temp is cooler than 18 0C and the concrete section is less than 300 mm thick.

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Placement of concrete against the frozen ground should not be permitted and the formwork be pre- heated. After the placement of concrete, it should be protected immediately from freezing for at least 24 hours. Drying of surface is to be prevented. No active wet curing is to be done. No curing is required below 5 0C atmospheric temperature. Anti-freeze admixtures (Sodium and Calcium nitrites) depress the freezing point of the mix water and are non-corrosive to steel. Hence, they should be used. Calcium chloride though good but causes steel corrosion and its use should be avoided. Air-entraining ad-mixtures to give air-entrainment of air upto 8% are also used to improve the workability of fresh concrete. Use insulated form-work covers. The heat of mix constituents and liberated from hydration of cement is allowed to dissipate so slowly (cooling 10C/hr) that by the time freezing begins the concrete has achieved the necessary strength required at the end of pre-hardening period. 25 mm thick commercial blankets, saw dust, timber can be used. Other methods for heating are by passing hot air or steam curing etc. Mixing of concrete in cold weather is to be done for a longer time than normal. Never heat the cement. Do not allow hot water to come in direct contact with cement to avoid flash set. Fuel burning heaters (as is done in all sites in India- burning firewood for warming-up in winter seasons), which produce Carbon-di-oxide gas should not be used. The CO 2 will react with Calcium- Oxide of fresh concrete and form a weak layer of Calcium Carbonate. Due to slower rate of gain of strength, the form-work and props are to be kept in place for a longer time than normal. The minimum period is recommended as under: Beams, wall columns -05 days Slabs (props left under) -07 days Beam soffit (props left under) -14 days Slabs- props -14 days Beam- props -28 days