Impact on the mechanical properties of concrete cured at low temperatures

Abstract The curing process of cementitious matrices is very important in determining their properties in the hardened state. In these circumstances, concrete can suffer serious damage when exposed to severe thermal variations. The low curing temperatures in which the cementitious matrices are exposed can influence their properties in the hardened state, especially in the early ages, impairing the processes of shaping and shoring. Intense cold places must follow specific dosing procedures and application of a cementitious matrix. Thus, this research aimed to analyze the influence of curing temperature on the mechanical and physical behavior of concretes at different curing temperatures, both at the early and later ages. It was observed that the decrease in curing temperature provided an increase of resistance up to 26% at the age of 28 days in the analyzed concretes, even though they presented slow development of the mechanical properties in the initial 7 days. Concretes with higher cement consumption showed better performance in early ages when submitted to temperatures lower than 3 °C. However, it was observed that curing at low temperatures is able to provide more intact mixtures at advanced ages, since they achieved higher ultrasonic wave propagation velocity and resistance, due to the residual hydration of the cement.