Concrete is a mixture of three components: cement mix, water and aggregate. The concrete mix and water form a paste that bonds with the aggregate to create durable, hard-wearing structures. Concrete must cure for a set time before it becomes safe to use. The curing process ensures that the concrete maintains a desirable moisture condition at depth and near surface for long periods of time to develop strength, volume stability, resistance to freezing and thawing, and abrasion and scaling resistance. Curing is essential to the performance of any concrete project.
High early strength concrete (also known as fast track concrete) is a type of concrete that has its specified strength achieved at an earlier age compared to ordinary concrete. It can be developed using special admixtures and concreting practices. It has numerous applications, including rapid form reuse, precast concrete for fast production of elements, cold-weather construction, quick repair of pavements to reduce traffic downtime, and fast-track paving.
To increase the early strength of concrete, accelerating admixtures such as setting accelerator and hardening accelerant are usually added into the concrete mix. The mechanism of these admixtures during the early hydration stage is not fully understood. In addition, heat curing methods are also used to produce high early-strength concrete. However, the appropriate heat curing duration to achieve optimum compressive strength is not clear. The aim of this research is to investigate the influence of different admixtures and their combinations on the hydration of cement during the initial stage of concrete curing.
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