With the arctic wind driving our temperatures down over the next few weeks, producing quality concrete becomes a different challenge.
Concrete cures with a process called hydration. The colder the ambient temperature, the longer this process takes. At very low temperatures the chemical reaction won’t work and the concrete will not gain any strength.
Because of this, it is imperative that the concrete we produce is kept warm during winter months and when the cold-snap hits we are fully prepared to ensure production does not slow down, and quality is not compromised.
Porridge, heating and a duvet
In a nutshell, we’ve given them an extra bowl of porridge, whacked up the heating and put on a winter duvet.Chris Fox, Managing Director
When looking into this blog post I asked Chris Fox, our managing director what we do to help cure our concrete during the cold weather. Chris explained the three-prong approach we adopt:
“Firstly we don’t use additives in our bed mixes however we have increased the amount of cement in our mixes to assist with curing.”
Additives and accelerators are often added to concrete during winter months to speed up the curing process, but here at Stressline most of our bespoke machinery is designed to be used without additives, and so we are one of few companies that do not require them for many products.
“We use heat on all of our beds so have increased the amount of time that the boilers are on for.
Finally, we cover our beds with plastic sheeting all year round, in the winter months we double the amount of sheeting we use to help trap in the heat.
In a nutshell, we’ve given them an extra bowl of porridge, whacked up the heating and put on a winter duvet….”
With concrete being the second most consumed material on earth, after water, it remains vital to the construction and infrastructure markets. Concrete structures when built properly can remain in place for many years – the Pantheon in Rome is a testament to that; being the biggest non-reinforced concrete structure in the world.
It must also be advanced and technologies like nanoconcrete which can harden in low and subzero temperatures, and microbial concrete and polymer concrete have been developed to ensure the life and application of concrete continue to be at the forefront of construction.
Winter is coming and if we do have the cold-snap that is forecast, our concrete lintels and floor beams will be prepared and produced to ensure that customers continue to get a quality product. To find out more about how our products are made – sign up for our monthly digest.