High early strength concrete is a type of concrete that develops strength at a much faster rate than normal concrete. It is a great option for when construction work must be done rapidly such as highways and airport runways.
It is also beneficial in structural applications such as massive walls where fast-response strength development is desired. In addition, high-strength concrete is more resistant to damage from the effects of climatic conditions.
Admixtures that accelerate the hydration of concrete are also available. Examples of these admixtures are calcium chloride, ground granulated blast furnace slag, and supplementary cementitious materials (SCM).
Accelerating admixtures can increase the rate of concrete hydration and help to develop early strength. These admixtures also improve the rate of concrete hardening and reduce curing time.
In general, the accelerating admixtures increase the rate of strength development in concrete by reducing the pore size and increasing the rate of cementitious material dehydration. However, a number of disadvantages can arise from using these admixtures.
The most common disadvantage is that it may take longer to reach the minimum adequate compressive strength than normal concrete. This is especially true if the concrete contains a low water to cement ratio or uses a high cement content.
Fortunately, the use of insulating blankets during the first 24 hours can help to retain the heat of hydration and aid to strengthen the concrete. Although these blankets are effective, they must be removed carefully to prevent thermal shock and premature cracking of the concrete.
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