Temperature problems in concreting
1. Neville A et al "Concrete Technology", revised reprint 1990, Longman Scientific
and Technical. (Chapters 2, 9, 10 and 13 are particularly relevant).
2. Sample specification concerning the requirement for temperature in concrete
Concept and data related to temperature problem
Specific heat (capacity): energy (heat) required to raise temperature of a material
of unit mass by one degree.
Normal Concrete: 1~1.5 kJ/kgC.
Water 1 Cal/kgC = 4.18 kJ/kgC
Latent heat: heat lost or gained when a substance change state (e.g. from liquid to
vapour) without change of temperature.
Coefficient of thermal expansion (10-6/C):
Concrete: gravel 12, granite 9, limestone 6
Cement paste: 11 ~ 20
Temperature problems associated with heat from two sources:
External source: weather
Internal source: heat of cement hydration
a. Problems in hot weather:
Strength reduction due to rapid cement hydration
Loss of workability due to rapid evaporation
Surface cracking du to plastic shrinkage caused by rapid evaporation
Strength reduction of air entrained concrete due to swelling of air bubbles
b. Problems associated with heat of cement hydration
Strength reduction and cracking due to high temperature
Strength reduction and cracking due to temperature differentials
c. Problems in cold weather:
Strength reduction due to freezing before concrete hardening, forming porous
Damage due to freezing after concrete set
Delayed settling time
Delayed strength development
Temp - 1
Heat of cement hydration
Cement hydration is an exothermic process.
Compound Typical content Heat of hydration kJ/kg (Cal/kg)
C3 A 10.8 867 (207)
C3S 54.1 502 (120)
C2S 16.6 260 (62)
C3AF 9.1 419 (100)
Minor Compound -
Heat generated from hydration of 1 kg cement is about
H = 0.108 867 + 0.541 502 + 0.166 260 + 0.091 419 = 446 kJ/kg
The specific heat of concrete is around, say 1.3 kJ/kg C. Assuming the concrete
cured in an adiabatic condition, cement content per cubic meter of concrete is 100kg,
and density of the concrete 2400kg/m3, the temperature increased due to hydration
446kJ / kg 100kg / m 3 14 C (1)
2400kg / m 3 1.3kJ / kg C
The real situation, no matter how big is the concrete pour, concrete is not in adiabatic
condition. Temperature rise due to cement hydration is always lower than the derived
value from the compound hydration heat assuming adiabatic condition. It would be a
rough guess that 100kg OPC per cubic meter of concrete would raise the temperature
inside large concrete pour by around 10C.
Cracks caused by thermal deformation (movement)
Concrete is weak in tension. Tensile strength of grade 20 - 40 concrete is 3- 5N/mm2,
about 1/10 of compressive strength. Modulus of elasticity of hardened concrete ranges
from 15 to 35 kN/mm2.
Consider a concrete prison shown in Fig. 1, which is firmly restrained at its two ends
(no movement at the ends). Assuming modulus of elasticity of the concrete is
20kN/mm2, coefficient of thermal expansion is 10 10-6 1/C, then a drop of
temperature of 25C would induce a tensile stress of
(10 10-6 1/C) 25C 20kN/mm2 = 5N/mm2 (2)
Temp - 2
in the concrete prison. This stress would be high enough to cause tension crack in the
Concrete inside a structure subject to restraint from variety of sources: reinforcement,
support, adjacent members, and also from adjacent concrete if differential temperature
exist. Stress due to differential temperature is illustrated in Fig. 2.
Fig. 2 shows the section of a large-sized structural member. The temperature of the
concrete in the core zone is higher than peripheral concrete when the concrete initially
hardens at, say about one day. As the temperature in the member gradually leveled
off, concrete in the core zone tends to shrink more that surrounding concrete, whereas
peripheral concrete tends to resists the shrinkage of the core concrete. Compressive
stress is, therefore, introduced in peripheral concrete and tensile stress is induced in
the core area. Tension crack will result in the core zone if the tensile stress induced
reaches concrete tensile strength.
Peripheral zone, Core zone, Peripheral zone,
Core zone, lower temp, say 30C normal temp, say 25 normal temp, say 25
high temp, say 70C
24 hr after casting 120 hr after casting
Typical requirement in Hong Kong concerning concrete temperature
Limit placing temperature (32C for Hong Kong).
Limit maximum temperature (85C).
Limit temperature difference (25C).
For sections greater than 1.5m, peak temperature be calculated and measured.
Measures to achieve temperature requirement in hot weather
a. Use low heat cement
b. Use pozzolan, PFA, silica fume, etc.
c. Use water reducing agent
d. Lower mix temperature (ice, cooling aggregates))
e. Internal cooling system for mass concrete
f. Apply thermal insulation on formwork
g. Lower formwork temperature
Temp - 3
Temperature of fresh mix
Temperature of fresh concrete is calculated by
0.22 Ta Wa Tc Wc Tw Ww Ta Wwa
0.22 Wa Wc Ww Wwa
Temperature of fresh mix using ice as part of free water is calculated by
0.22 Ta Wa Tc Wc Tw Ww Ta Wwa LW i
0.22 Wa Wc Ww Wwa Wi
1. Why the rate of heat development is more important than the total heat of cement
hydration for practical purpose?
2. If a concrete mix for mass concrete pour contains 500kg OPC per cubic meter of
concrete and placing temperature is 30C, estimate the possible peak temperature
of the concrete.
3. If the maximum temperature in the concrete in previous question exceeds
specified maximum temperature, what measures you may take to bring the
4. When would you place ice in concrete mix?
5. State the measures used to minimize temperature gradient.
6. How temperature affect the strength development?
7. Discuss the influence of formwork striking time on the risk of thermal cracking.
8. What are the thermal problems in mass concrete?
9. Why insulation sometimes use in placing large concrete pours?
10. What are the effects of hot whether on fresh concrete?
11. Estimate peak temperature for a mass concrete based on the following
Cement (OPC): 300kg/m3.
Density: 2350kg/ m3.
Specific heat: 1.2 J/kgC
OPC contains 60% C3S, 20% C2S, 10% C3A and 10% impurities.
Temp - 4