What is Concrete additives?
Concrete additives are chemicals that are added to a concrete mix to change its properties. They are usually liquid and can be added to the concrete before or during mixing. They can increase concrete strength, accelerate it or delay its setting process as required. Newer types of concrete admixtures are also being developed that offer environmental benefits and reduce pollution by reducing the need for Portland cement.
The different types of concrete admixtures include concrete deflocculants, plasticizers, air-entrainment agents and set retarders. They are classified based on how they affect freshly mixed concrete or hardened concrete.
Deflocculants are used to reduce the amount of water needed to prepare concrete to a specific slump. They do this by forming a film over the cement compounds, which slows their reaction with water. They are especially effective during cold weather, when high temperatures can hasten the concrete’s setting process.
Plasticizers are designed to make the concrete more workable, by allowing it to flow and be placed easily. They can be used to obtain a desired slump with a lower water-cement ratio than what would otherwise be possible, which helps control costs and save energy.
Air entrainment admixtures introduce microscopic air bubbles into the concrete during mixing, which increases its strength and durability. They can also reduce concrete shrinkage cracking by reducing the internal stresses that cause them.
Shrinkage reducing additives can be used to control drying shrinkage and minimize cracking in long-term applications, such as floor slabs or bridge decks. They can also be used in situations where excessive shrinkage cracking is undesirable for aesthetic or structural reasons.
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