It’s that time of year again – the time when construction slows down due to piercing cold temperatures. In Birmingham, Alabama, the home of Command Alkon’s global HQ, the weather can be very unpredictable. One day mother nature blasts us with a cold so frosty and mean, and the next day it feels like a sauna outside – and I’m sure Alabama isn’t the only state that falls victim to the uncertainty. The good news is that preventative measures can be taken to ensure that your job stays on track.
In cold weather, it’s all about the batch. Concrete can be batched with warm or hot water, and Command Alkon’s COMMANDbatch offers a Precision Temperature System that measures the ingredient temperatures in a batch and adjusts water temperature to achieve a target concrete temperature for the load. This feature ensures that the concrete will be at the correct temperature when it comes time to pour.
After a pour, it is important that enough crystals form during the hydration process so that the concrete can resist destruction caused by rain and snow melt water that soaks in to the surface and freezes. The water added at the ready mix plant is needed to fuel the chemical hydration reaction, however, you need to avoid adding too much water to the mix.
COMMANDbatch also has a feature that can reduce the risk of adding an excessive amount of water to the load. The Post Load Process Manager feature automatically shows the driver what the target slump is, and the maximum amount of water that can be added. This kind of intelligence can safeguard the quality of the load, and can strengthen the chance of the concrete properly undergoing the hydration process.
An excessive amount of water will keep the concrete saturated so that freezing will damage it even after it reaches compressive strength. To ensure the workability of the concrete, Command Alkon’s COMMANDassurance provides a constant view of the properties of your concrete throughout the delivery cycle, and one of the features indicates how much water has been added to the load.
Wintry conditions don’t have to set your construction jobs back. Cold weather concreting brings special planning and special care, but it doesn’t have to result in losing money and time in the field. If sufficient planning and care is taken, it’s possible to make concrete and cold weather play nice with one another.