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Title: After Two Hundred Years of Estimating Evaporation, It Is Still a Mystery

Author(s): Kenneth C. Hover

Publication: Symposium Paper

Volume: 338


Appears on pages(s): 10-28

Keywords: Bleeding, Cracking, Curing, Drying, Evaporation, Finishing, Shrinkage, Weather

DOI: 10.14359/51724723

Date: 3/1/2020

PCA researchers interested in the problem of evaporation of bleed water from concrete surfaces borrowed an equation developed by hydrologists to predict evaporation from Lake Hefner in Oklahoma. PCA’s graphical representation of that equation, subsequently modified to its present form by NRMCA, was later incorporated into multiple ACI documents, and is known by concrete technologists world-wide as the “Evaporation Rate Nomograph.” The most appropriate use of this formulation in concrete construction is to estimate the evaporative potential of atmospheric conditions (known as “evaporativity”). Since the difference between actual and estimated evaporation rate can be in the range of ± 40% of the estimate, best use of the equation as routinely applied is as a semi-quantitative guide to estimate risk of early drying and inform decisions about timing and conduct of concrete placing and finishing operations. Use of the “Nomograph” and related “Apps” in specifications is more problematic, however, given: 1.) the inherent uncertainty in its underlying equation, 2.) the difficulty in obtaining input data that appropriately characterize jobsite microclimate, and 3.) establishing a mixture-specific criterion for tolerable evaporation rate.