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Why curing agents are a necessity when laying self-compacting concrete

Why curing agents are a necessity when laying self-compacting concrete

Self-compacting concrete AKA Self-consolidating concrete (SCC) is a well-established product in the industry and is trusted in some of the world’s highest-profile and advanced construction projects.

Unlike conventional concrete, SCC is a semi-liquid that pours and flows quickly and levels naturally under its own weight, with very little manual labour.

Ideal for foundations and underground structures, SCC is easy to pour into the required area, without the need for vibrators or mechanical compaction. After the pouring process chemicals are sprayed on to the mix to create a strong, durable concrete floor. These are called concrete curing agents.

Why use Curing Agents?

When concrete cures, water within the concrete evaporates. If water near the surface of a concrete slab evaporates too quickly, the concrete dries at the surface before drying further down the slab.  This causes several problems, most notably:

  • A surface that’s prone to cracking and dusting (where the surface scratches away to powder).
  • A slab that won’t be able to bear heavy weights as easily, because it has lower strength at the surface.

A concrete curing agent forms a membrane over the top of the concrete slab while it cures.  This stops the water near the surface of the slab evaporating too quickly and hence helps to reduce cracking and dusting.

When a slab has uniform strength, it means it can bear weight and withstand challenging environments more easily – so, curing helps a concrete floor perform to its full potential.

What are the options?

There are two types of concrete curing agents – water-based, and solvent-based. In terms of performance, these are similar. The differences occur during application.

  • Solvent-based – this is sprayed on as an a clear liquid and works over a longer time period – 28 days. Because it is solvent-based, it is flammable and should be handled and applied with care.
  • Water-based – this goes on as a white liquid which dries clear. It works over 7 days and penetrates the surface to prevent cracking. Water-based curing agents are ideal for projects where there is fast turnaround time.  It is also suitable for use on self-compacting concrete floors.  Being water-based, there are minimal handling concerns, as the product is non-flammable and non-toxic.

The Metex range of high-quality Chapin sprayers come with Viton seals and gaskets. These concrete sprayers are used by groundworkers when applying curing agents to free-flowing self-compacting concrete and may be used for the application of concrete mould release agents.

The range is made up of heavy-duty steel sprayers, commercial plastic sprayers and Industrial knapsack sprayers.

View our range of Metex Chemical Sprayers now.

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