Optimizing the Sustainability of Concrete Through Internal Curing


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Title: Optimizing the Sustainability of Concrete Through Internal Curing

Author(s): Benjamin E. Byard and John Ries

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 290


Appears on pages(s): 1-10

Keywords: Internal curing, life-cycle cost, lightweight aggregate, mixture proportioning, performance, Sustainability.

Date: 9/14/2012

The internal curing process is often referred to as “curing concrete from the inside out”. This process is accomplished by using materials that absorb water, such as lightweight aggregate, to replace some of the normalweight aggregate in the freshly placed concrete mixture. This absorbed water can then be released from the aggregate into the paste fraction as the paste begins to desiccate. By doing this the hydration reactions of cement and supplementary cementitious materials are enhanced, and capillary stresses are reduced as the water is readily released from the absorbent materials. This paper gives a general overview of internal curing, and will show how internal curing plays a practical and economical role in today’s move toward sustainable concrete. The paper will explain how internal curing works, why internal curing is used, summarize the modern history of internal curing, and how it affects the carbon footprint of a concrete mixture. In addition, how to adjust the concrete mixture to provide appropriate amount of internal curing, and reduce the life-cycle costs of the concrete. Examples of real projects that have used internally cured concrete will then be highlighted.