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155

Journal of Advanced Concrete Technology Vol. 13, 155-162, March 2015 / Copyright 2015 Japan Concrete Institute

Technical report

Effects of Improving Endurance of Concrete Structures by Wet Curing


System
Seishi Shiraiwa1*, Kazuto Fukudome2, Atsushi Saito1 and Toshinari Hayashi1
A selected paper of ICCS13, Tokyo 2013. Received 12 November 2013, accepted 16 February 2015

doi:10.3151/jact.13.155

Abstract
There has been no such engineering method until now to enable water curing in the vertical surfaces of concrete after the
removal of formworks. The Aqua curtain wet curing system has been developed with the purpose of supplying the sufficient water on vertical surfaces of concrete. Aqua curtain prevents rusting of reinforcing bars by making the surface of
concrete denser. In this way, Aqua Curtain also contributes to realize more resistant and long-life concrete structures. In
other words, implementation of this system leads to improve the endurance and economy of concrete structures by reducing the consumption of resources.

1. Introduction
In the fabrication of concrete constructions, curing is
one of the most important processes. In order to obtain
the desired concrete performance and to ensure durability, in terms of strength and mass change ratio, it is
important to hydrate the cement properly. Therefore, it
is crucial to maintain the moisture level required for the
period of hydration.
To guarantee this, the authors have developed a
novel wet curing system, called Aqua Curtain (AC),
which enables the supply of curing water from the
outside to the interior of vertical surfaces of concrete
structures after the removal of the formworks (Furukawa et al. 2011, 2012).
This paper reviews the Japanese specifications
relevant to the curing process and provides an overview
of the AC system. In addition, we present the findings
of a quantitative test conducted to ascertain the effects
of the curing method. Finally, examples of systems
application to actual structures are described.

2. Overview of the AC curing system


2.1 Status of system development
Wet curing, which not only prevents moisture dissipation but also actively supplies water from outside, has a
significant effect on the performance of concrete.
However, while it is easy to supply moisture to a
horizontal surface, it is difficult to conduct perfect wet
curing at the construction site, particularly the application of wet curing, to vertical and inclined surfaces after
the formwork has been removed. The developed AC

Civil Engineering Division, Hazama Ando Corporation,


Tokyo, Japan. *Corresponding author,
E-mail: shiraiwa.seishi@ad-hzm.co.jp
2
Ishikawa National College of Technology, Ishikawa,
Japan.

system can form a water film on the surface of concrete


structures, including elements such as vertical walls
and internal surfaces of tunnel linings, and ensures that
an appropriate moisture condition is maintained.
Figure 1 shows the Nevilles categorization modified to include the AC curing method.
2.2 Construction technique for AC curing
2.2.1 System configuration
This system consists of a curing sheet, suction equipment, and water supply equipment. A scheme of the
system when AC is applied to a vertical wall is shown
in Fig. 2. The system evacuates air from the gap between the curing sheet and the concrete surface using
the suction equipment to create decompression, which
brings the curing sheet in close contact with the concrete surface. Water is then supplied between the contacting surfaces to form a water film over the concrete
surface.
2.2.2 Construction process
The curing construction process is described below.
The formwork, support members, and binding wires
are removed.
A water supply hose is positioned at the upper part of
the concrete surface and a curing sheet is temporarily
attached.
Suction ports are positioned at the bottom of the
curing sheet at intervals of approximately 4 m.
The suction equipment and the suction pipe are
connected.
After ensuring that the edges of the curing sheet are
airtight, the suction fans are activated.
A supply of curing water from the water supply hose
connected to the water supply pump is initiated to
start the wet curing process.
In this way, the watertight arrangements secure a
layer of water is always covering the concrete surface.
2.2.3 Adjustment of water supply
Water supply is adjusted so that a specified amount of

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S. Shiraiwa, K. Fukudome, A. Saito and T. Hayashi / Journal of Advanced Concrete Technology Vol. 13, 155-162, 2015

Curing

Wet curing

Water spraying, flooding, Ponding


Covering the concrete with wet sand or earth, sawdust or straw
Periodically-wetted burlap or cotton mats
Soaking hoses(On inclined or vertical)
Ingress of water into concrete by AQUA CURTAIN(On inclined or vertical)
Method of curing in which a bubble wrap sheet is adhered to the concrete surface using decompression
and a film of water is formed on the surface of the concrete

Membrane
curing

Covering the surface of the concrete with overlapping polyethylene


sheeting , with reinforced paper, with leaving formworks
Spray-applied curing compounds which form membrane

* Italics indicate the amendments made by the authors to Nevilles paper.

Architectural Institute of Japan 2000,and Neville 2002


Fig. 1 Categories of curing.
Curing location

Curing sheet

(Airtight section)

Suction equipment
Air discharge

Port

Decompression section
Port

Port

Suction fan

N
H
BB
M
F
N+E
BB+E

90.0
80.0
70.0
60.0
50.0
40.0
30.0
20.0
10.0
0.0
0

Lower

Fig. 2 Schematic diagram of AC system.

water is provided intermittently from the start to the


end of the curing process in accordance with the water
absorption rate of the concrete. Points to note are described below.
The amount of water supply required is determined
by ascertaining the amount required to wet the entire
surface of the applicable concrete area.
Required amount of water for curing will be decreased as time passes, as shown in Fig. 3. Effective
water supply period is about 7-14 days after curing
starts (Shiraiwa et al. 2010).
2.3 Main equipment
2.3.1 Curing sheet
Two types of materials are used for the curing sheet, as
shown in Fig. 4: material having an uneven surface,
used for the decompression section, and that having a
smooth surface, used for the airtight section. The features of the curing sheet are described below.
Bubble wrap sheet: In order to expand the decompression area, it is important to secure an adequate
air flow.
Unwoven fabric: The water holding capability of the
sheet can be improved by attaching hydrophilic
unwoven fabric to the surface of the concrete covered with the bubble wrap.

10

15

20

25

Period of water supply (day)

Fig. 3 Amount of water supply required.

Curing water
Water supply hose
Bubble wrap sheet
Atmospheric pressure

Water supply hose


Water collection
tank

100.0
Upper

Concrete

Curing sheet

Dairy water absorption rate


of concrete (%)

Water supply
equipment
Water supply
pump

Unwoven fabric
Suction port

Flow of
water and air

Suction pipe

Fig. 4 AC system section at curing location.

2.3.2 Electrical equipment


A turbo fan (0.4kW) is used for stabilizing the suction
rate for about one week. Curing a surface of 60m long
and 2m high for one week has a maximum electricity
consumption of 67kWh.

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S. Shiraiwa, K. Fukudome, A. Saito and T. Hayashi / Journal of Advanced Concrete Technology Vol. 13, 155-162, 2015

A pump (0.59kW) is used for supplying curing water


for about one week, 4 times per day, 5 minutes per one
time in the same situation. The maximum amount of
electricity consumption is 1.4kWh.
With minimal energy consumption, AC maximizes
concrete endurance.
2.3.3 Water supply hose
The water supply hose should be approximately
70100 m long.

3. Effects of AC wet curing


3.1 Purpose and overview of tests
To ascertain the effects of wet curing, its impact on the
development of the compressive strength of normal
Portland cement is investigated. It was found that wet
curing improves the compressive strength according
with the application period (Fukudome et al. 2010).
Furthermore, not only strength but also mass change
ratio related to durability is important in attaining the
expected performance of concrete.
Okazaki et al. conducted strength tests, water absorption tests, and air permeability tests on specimens
created under different curing conditions, and performed a quantitative assessment of the effect of different curing methods on the strength and mass change
ratio of concrete (Okazaki et al. 2006).
The tests results showed that there is a clear correla-

tion between hydration rate and compression strength,


but the mass change ratio obtained from the water
absorption test and air permeability test varies according to the differences in curing methods.
On the basis of these results, Okazaki et al. concluded that with respect to mass change ratio, the
permeability of concrete is determined mainly by the
continuity of the pore structure rather than the number
of pores and the hydration rate.
In this study, in order to investigate the effects of wet
curing on durability, freeze-thaw resistance, carbonation resistance, and pore size distribution tests were
conducted to evaluate mass change ratio quantitatively.
The mix proportions for the concrete used are shown
in Table 1. The cement used included normal Portland
cement (N) and Portland blast furnace slag cement
(BB). In addition to simulations run using general
structures, a simulated case (BT) using tunnel lining
concrete that had the formwork removed at an earlier
stage than usual and on which it is difficult to apply wet
curing was conducted. The target values for slump and
air volume at the time of pouring the concrete were 8
2.5 cm and 4.5% 1.5%, respectively.
Details of the curing conditions are shown in Table 2.
Nevilles categorization, introduced in Fig. 1, is usually
employed in Japan. However, it is still not clear
whether sheathing board retention can be considered as
wet curing. Therefore, for simplicity, it is expressed as
membrane curing in Table 2.

Table 1 Mix proportions.


Unit content (kg/m3)
Symbol
Fine aggregate
W/C()
s/a ()
Water W
Cement C
S1
S2
N
55.0
43.1
157
286
561
241
BB
55.0
43.4
153
279
567
243
BT
60.0
46.5
164
274
600
275
*Cement Type N: Ordinary portland cement, BB and BTBlast-furnace slag cement(TypeB)

Coarse
aggregate G
1073
1073
1001

Admixtures
2.86
2.97
2.92

Table 2 Curing conditions.


Categories

Symbol

Ponded in water

W
A1

Wet curing

A2
A3

Sheathing curing
(Kind of
Membrane
Curing)

Method of curing
Curing for the study of concrete performance standards
-Remove the formwork after 2 days of material aging and then conduct the standard water curing
(20C).
-After completing curing (28 days), conduct air curing.
Verification of the AC curing effects
-Remove the formwork after 3 days of material aging (15 h for BT) and then conduct AC curing.
-Curing period (N, BB: 1/2/3 weeks, BT: 1/2/3 months)
-After completing curing, conduct air curing.
JSCE curing period for actual structures (Recommended by JSCE*)
-After the curing period described in the specifications, remove the formwork and conduct air curing.
-Curing period (N: 5 days, BB, BT: 7 days)
-After completing curing, conduct air curing.

Curing with a shortened curing period (60% of the JSCE curing period)
-Shorten the curing period to 60% of the specifications and conduct curing.
P
-Curing period (N: 3 days, BB: 4.2 days, BT: 15 h)
-After completing curing, conduct air curing.
*JSCE: JAPAN SOCIETY OF CIVIL ENGINEERS

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0.12

d(D)/dlogD

0.10

0.14

A1

A2

A3

0.12

Pore volumeml/g

Cement:N

0.08
0.06
0.04

Cement : N

Diameter 50 nm <nm
Diameter 10 nm <nm
Total pore volume

0.10
0.08
0.06
0.04
0.02

0.02

0.00
0.00

W
0

Pore sizelog(D)nm

A1

A2

A3

0.14

A1

A2

A3

0.12

Pore volumeml/g

d(D)/dlogD

0.10

Curing conditions

0.12

Cement:BB

0.08
0.06
0.04

Cement: BB

Diameter 50 nm <nm
Diameter 10 nm <nm
Total pore volume

0.10
0.08
0.06
0.04
0.02

0.02

0.00
W

0.00
0

A1

Pore sizelog(D)nm

0.14
0.12

Pore volumeml/g

Cement:BBT

P
A1

0.10
0.08
0.06
0.04

A2

A3

Curing conditions

0.12

d(D)/dlogD

Diameter 50 nm <nm
Diameter 10 nm <nm
Total pore volume

Cemnet: BBT

0.10
0.08
0.06
0.04
0.02

0.02

0.00
W

0.00
0

Pore sizelog(D)nm

Fig. 5 Pore size distribution.

3.2 Effect on pore structure


3.2.1 Pore size distribution according to curing conditions
The compressive strength and pore size distribution
were measured using mercury intrusion porosimetry to
ascertain the effect of AC curing on the pore structure
of concrete. For this measurement, in order to eliminate
the influence of coarse aggregates, a mortar specimen
(5 mm 10 mm) prepared in laboratory crushed to a
size smaller than 5 mm and wet screened using a 5 mm
sieve was used as a sample.
The measurement results for pore size distribution
are shown in Fig. 5. The pore size distribution for each
type of cement shifted to the fine-size pore side, becoming a dense pore structure, as the AC curing period
was extended.
The pore size from sheathing curing(S,P) using cement N and cement BB peaks at around 100 nm in
distribution, and has a rough pore structure compared

A1

Curing conditions

A2

A3

Fig. 6 Relationship between the curing conditions and the


pore volume.

to AC curing and water curing (W,A1 to A3). Moreover,


with the tunnel specimen (BT), which had an extremely
short curing period (P), the pore size is close to 1000
nm, and this trend is noticeable.
3.2.2 Curing conditions and pore volume
In order to conduct a quantitative evaluation of the
differences in pore size distribution according to the
different curing conditions and cement types, the effect
of curing conditions on the pore volume of a rough-size
pore (pore sizes: 10 nm and 50 nm) was studied. The
relationships among the curing conditions, the total
pore volume, and the pore volume with pore sizes of 10
nm and 50 nm or more are shown in Fig. 6.
The effect of the curing conditions on the total pore
volume was minor, but a significant difference occurred in pore volume when the pore size was 10 nm,
50 nm, or more. In particular, the pore volume for the
rough-pore size increased when sheathing curing was

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3.3 Effects on freeze-thaw resistance


A freeze-thaw resistance test was conducted using
normal Portland cement according to Method A of JIS
A 1148(Method of test for resistance of concrete to
freezing and thawing), which is comparable to ASTM
C 666(A). The material age at the start of the test was
28 days. A freeze-thaw resistance test on a specimen
that was subjected to air curing, but not water curing,
was conducted immediately after measuring the initial
value when the specimen was taken from a temperature-and humidity-controlled room without having
absorbed any water. Measurements were performed
once every 30 cycles up to 300 cycles.
The relationship between freeze-thaw cycles and
relative dynamic modulus of elasticity is shown in Fig.
8.
The symbols in Fig. 8 indicate the curing methods
shown in Table 2. The reduction in the relative dynamic modulus of elasticity associated with the
freeze-thaw cycles decreases with the curing period.
This is because the specimen becomes progressively
drier with decreasing curing period; the degree of
saturation is low and the specimen is less susceptible to
deterioration resulting from freeze thaw.
The calculation results of the dynamic modulus of
elasticity based on the number of resonant vibrations
and the test specimen mass according to JIS A
1127(Method of test dynamic modulus of elasticity,
rigidity and Poissons ratio of concrete by resonance
vibration) are shown in Fig. 9.The relative dynamic
modulus of elasticity varies depending on the curing
conditions, and this leads to a difference in the concrete
performance. The dynamic modulus of elasticity increases in the initial freeze-thaw cycles as the curing
period is shortened. This is because hydration of the
test specimen, which initially has insufficient hydration,
progresses.
The relationship between freeze-thaw cycles and
mass change ratio is shown in Fig. 10. The mass at the
time of pouring the concrete is used as the reference for

Compression strength with the


material age of 91 daysN/mm2

40
35
30
Diameter 50 nm <nm
Diameter 10 nm <nm

25

Total pore volume

20
0.00

0.02

0.04
0.06
0.08
Pore volume(ml/g)

0.10

0.12

0.14

Fig. 7 Relationship between pore volume and compression strength.


120
Relative dynamic modulus of
elasticity (%)

3.2.3 Correlation between pore volume for


each pore size and compressive strength
The correlation between the calculated pore volume for
each pore size and the compression strength was investigated.
The relationship between pore volume and compression strength is shown in Fig. 7. A correlation with
each pore volume is apparent, but the degree of correlation increases for pore volumes with a pore size of 10
nm or more. It is thought that the differences in the pore
structure in accordance with the curing conditions,
described earlier, are due to the hydration level.

45

110
100
90
80
W
A1

70
60
0

S
A2

P
A3

30 60 90 120 150 180 210 240 270 300


Freeze-thaw cycles (times)

Fig. 8 elationship between freeze-thaw cycles and relative dynamic modulus of elasticity.
Dynamic modulus of elasticity
(kN/mm2)

used, while it clearly decreased for AC curing as the


curing period was extended. Therefore, it was found
that there is a clear correlation among pore structure,
curing period, and curing conditions.

46
44
42
40
38
36
34
W
A1

32
30
0

S
A2

P
A3

30 60 90 120 150 180 210 240 270 300


Freeze-thaw cycles (times)

Fig. 9 elationship between freeze-thaw cycles and dynamic modulus of elasticity.

the mass change ratio. The mass of test specimens that


were not subject to water curing increased because of
the absorption of water over 30 cycles, and the mass
change ratio was almost the same as with water curing.
Therefore, the test specimen can be considered to be
water saturated.
Differences in mass change were generated after 30
cycles in accordance with the curing conditions. At 300
cycles, the mass change ratio of sheathing curing (S, P)
was greater than that of water curing and AC curing
(A1 to A3) by 1.5%4.5%. We can thus say that the
freeze-thaw resistance of sheathing curing is lower than
that of AC curing.

160

Masschange
change ratio(%)
Mass
ratio(%)

1.0
0.0
-1.0
-2.0
-3.0
-4.0

W
A1

S
A2

P
A3

-5.0
0

30

Mass change speed (%/cycle)

S. Shiraiwa, K. Fukudome, A. Saito and T. Hayashi / Journal of Advanced Concrete Technology Vol. 13, 155-162, 2015

0.030
0.025

3.4 Effects on carbonation resistance


An accelerated carbonation test according to JIS A
1153 (Method of accelerated carbonation test for concrete), which is examined in the environment of 5% of
CO2, was conducted to ascertain the effect on improvement in the quality of the surface layer of concrete by wet curing.
To reproduce the five curing methods (A1 to A3, S,
P) shown in Table 2, large test specimens (thickness
0.3 height 1.2 length 7.2 m) were fabricated. Core
specimens were taken from these specimens with a
material age of 26 weeks for use in accelerated carbonation tests up to an accelerated period of 13 weeks.
The carbonation depth caused by the differences in
the cements and the curing methods is shown in Fig. 12.
Our findings indicate that because the carbonation
depth for AC curing is less than that for sheathing
curing, the structure of the concrete surface becomes
denser due to adequate water absorption.

4. Examples of On-Site Applications


4.1 Construction example for a tunnel
In most examples of lining concrete application, the
formwork is removed at an early stage, 12 to 20 hours
after the concrete has been poured (Japan Society of
Civil Engineers 2006.).
Moreover, because of the misunderstanding as to
whether the temperature in a tunnel is stable and the
ambient conditions are sufficiently wet, special curing
is not conducted. However, a study conducted by Baba

A2

A3

0.015
0.010
0.005
0.000
0

10
15
20
Curing Period(days)

Freeze-thaw cycles (times)

25

30

Fig. 11 elationship between wet curing period and mass


change speed.
Accelerated carbonation depth
(nm)

The mass changes linearly after 30 cycles of freeze


thaw; therefore, the mass-change speed according to
the freeze-thaw cycles is calculated using linear regression.
Figure 11 shows the relationship between curing
period (material age after completing curing) and mass
change speed. The mass change speed decreases considerably with increasing curing period. The effect of
AC curing is significant, and the mass change decreases at the same rate as when water curing was
conducted over 28 days.

A1

0.020

60 90 120 150 180 210 240 270 300

Fig.10 elationship between freeze-thaw cycle and mass


change ratio.

40
N
BB
BT

35
30
25
20
15
10

A1

A2

A3

Curing Condition

*Cement Type N:Ordinary Portland cement BB


and BT:Blast-furnace slag cement(TypeB)
Fig. 12 Comparison of the carbonation depth between
curing conditions.

et al. showed that a humidity of 60%-70% in a tunnel is


an inadequate curing environment for concrete (Baba
2009).
In addition, a tunnel is one of the most difficult
structures to be used for wet curing. This is because
tunnels have an arch shape and the formwork is removed at an early stage. Therefore, anchors or other
devices for securing curing equipment cannot be used.
With respect to this, we present here some examples
of AC applications in tunnel construction. Figure 13
describes the scheme of the application of AC in the
construction of a tunnel. To get this configuration, the
construction process is slightly modified. First, the
water supplying tube is attached to the sheets. Then,
this system is erected by using a system of multi-frames.
After that, the suction pipes are connected to the suction ports and the air is extracted. In this way, the system becomes watertight. Finally, the water supply
starts.
As shown in Fig. 14, the configuration adopted fits
the geometric characteristics of an arch tunnel.
4.2 Application examples for other structures
This curing method can be applied to other types of
concrete structures. In Japan, up to now, there have
been many examples of application, such as the con-

S. Shiraiwa, K. Fukudome, A. Saito and T. Hayashi / Journal of Advanced Concrete Technology Vol. 13, 155-162, 2015

[Water supply hose]


Curing water is intermittently supplied by
hose.

[Water supply equipment]

[Multi-frames]
This frames are installed for
every span for the purpose of
preventing the unlikely
dropping of the curing sheet.

[Suction equipment]

Curing

Air discharge

Water

Water supply pump


Water collection tank

161

[Curing sheet]
200~250 /unit

Carriage

Suction fan

Suction pipe
Suction port

Fig. 13 AC System configuration for a tunnel (example).

Fig. 14 Application to tunnel lining concrete.

Fig. 15 Application to a wall at a channel.

Fig. 16 Application to a wall at a prestressed concrete tank.

struction of bridge piers, box culvert walls, prestressed


concrete tank walls, external walls of water treatment
plants, and retaining side walls. Construction photographs from application examples are shown in Figs.
15 and 16.
In addition, strains of drying shrinkage on real
structures were measured in a wall of the vertical shaft
which uses an expansive concrete. Figure 17 shows

these results. Strains due to drying shrinkage of concrete cured by AC were smaller than those of concrete
cured under plastic sheet cover (Shiraiwa et al. 2011).

5. Conclusions
In this study, the effects of AC wet curing on improving
concrete durability were ascertained. The findings from

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40

Strain of drying shrinkage

20

Day

0
-20

20

40

60

-40

80

100

71

-60
-80
-100

127

56

-120
-140
-160
-180

Finish curing
with AC

Finish curing with


wrap sheet

Curing with bubble

wrap sheet
AC

-200
Fig. 17 Strain of drying shrinkage measurement results for wall of the vertical shaft.

this study are described below.


Compared to sheathing curing, wet curing improves
freeze-thaw resistance and carbonation resistance.
By applying wet curing, which provides adequate
moisture, the concrete surface becomes denser and the
pore structure becomes the same as that obtained with
water curing.
It was found that the AC system can be applied, and
wet curing correctly conducted, even to sections on
which it is generally difficult to conduct wet curing,
such as vertical walls and arch structures, and that when
applied, it exhibits superior practicality.
On the basis of the above mentioned findings, AC
curing prevents the rusting of reinforcing bars by
making surface concrete dense, realizing a good and
long-life concrete structures, and leads to improve the
endurance of concrete structures by reducing and preventing the consumption of resources.
References
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106-116 (in Japanese)
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Japanese)
Fukudome, E., Furukawa, K. and Shono, (2011).
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Furukawa, Y., Suzuki, M. and Mitai, Y., (2011).
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