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  • The Science of Concrete Setting

Concrete setting plays a crucial role in the construction of our roadways, sidewalks and structures — and in making sure those elements remain safe for use. Even so, it’s a concept that few people outside of the concrete and construction trades fully understand. While many people out there believe concrete setting simply involves waiting for the material to dry, the truth is a bit more complex. Here, the General Chipping crew is taking the opportunity to dig into the science a bit and share some knowledge. Read on to learn the ins and outs of concrete setting — and the processes that come afterward, too.

First Off: What is Concrete Setting?
“Setting” is the term used to describe the chemical reaction that takes place when you combine concrete’s various components — the water, aggregate and cement. Through the process of hydration, cement and water come together to form something of a paste. That paste then binds with the stone, sand and other aggregates present within the mix. Over time, the blend hardens — or sets — into the finished material you and I know as concrete.

Is the Process Complete Once the Concrete is Set?
The simple answer? Not by a longshot. You see, while concrete setting is an important part of the pour, it is by no means the end of it. The curing process follows that initial set, requiring crews to keep a close eye on temperatures and humidity rates as the poured material continues to work its way toward completion. Concrete Network notes it takes about a month for poured concrete to reach a completed cure — but that surfaces should be safe to walk on after about 24 to 48 hours, and safe to drive on after seven days.

Do Outside Conditions Impact Concrete’s Ability to Set and Cure?
Environmental conditions have a tremendous impact on how quickly poured concrete will reach completion and just how strong it will be once complete. For example, concrete that loses moisture too early on in the curing process will often lose strength. (That’s right — quicker drying isn’t always a good thing!) Concrete poured in extremely hot conditions not only risks early moisture loss, but quickened reaction times, which can create cracks. Pouring the material in cold climates often results in a slower curing process. Of course, as Concrete Network points out, the main factor is the temperature of the concrete itself — not the surrounding environment. If you can keep the poured material at a healthy, happy temperature and moisture level, you should be OK moving forward.

As you can see, there’s a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to concrete setting. If you have questions on any of the above, are interested in how concrete chipping services can help keep your equipment and crew prepared for future pours — or have another question or concern — feel free to contact our team. We are here to help, and we look forward to hearing from you!

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