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5) Curing

Curing is a procedure of promoting the hydration ofcement for development of concrete


strength and controllingthe temperature. As a result of curing, we can achievehigher
strength and reduced permeability which is very vital

for the long term strength or durability. The effect of curinghas been depicted in
Fig-4
.The curing is required for full development ofstrength. Initially the entire concrete has
sufficient quantityof water for hydration. But over the passage of time, thewater is lost
due to evaporation or it is consumed due toreaction of hydration. The relative humidity,
thus, falls below80% level and the hydration process eventually stops.

Methods of curing
Various methods of curing are adopted in the fieldas given below :(a) Replenishing the
lost water(i)By immersion in water(ii)By ponding(iii)By sprinkling(iv)Using saturated
coverings, e.g. jute bags etc.(b) Preventing loss of moisture(i)Using curing
compounds(ii)Using impermeable membrane coverings

Out of above methods, immersion may be the idealmethod of curing but it is not
practicable always. It isrestricted to laboratories or pre-cast units where small unitslike
cubes or PSC sleepers etc. can be immersed in water.Ponding is suitable only for flat
surfaces but not for verticalor overhead surfaces. Sprinkling is the most commonlyused
method in the field but it requires a large quantity ofwater. Saturated covering is a better
method which requiresless quantity of water. Curing compounds are effective forconcrete
with high initial w/c ratio. Impermeable membraneis also having the same effect as of
curing compounds. Outof these methods, the most widely used method in the fieldis
saturated coverings using jute bags.
Important observations regarding curing
(1)Curing should be started earliest as possible.(2)For the portion of concrete which is
coveredwith formwork, the curing should be started assoon as the formwork is removed.
(3)On exposed surface, it should be started whenconcrete has sufficiently hardened such
that itdoesnt get disturbed by curing.(4)Ensure uninterrupted curing. If it isdiscontinued
for any reason, the reaction ofhydration will be stopped permanently. Thepartial
hydration makes the capillary poresdiscontinuous and water cant enter theconcrete even
if the curing is started again.(5)High strength concrete should be cured at anearly age.
(6)There is a widespread belief that humid climateis sufficient and curing is not required
in rainyseason.(7)The person generally entrusted for curing is themost unskilled person.
He doesnt appreciatethe importance of curing. In fact he believesthat curing is a process
of wastage of watertime and money.(8)It cant be made a measurable item in thecontract
Therefore the best and practical method to ensureproper curing is the education of the
person who isresponsible for curing. Once he understands the importanceof curing, he
would certainly ensure it