How Long Does Concrete Take To Dry (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 24 to 48 hours (Approx)

Concrete basically is fluid cement(cement paste). It is usually made by mixing cement in water. It is a composite material that gets hard over time because of the formation of bonds. It is used in almost every other construction site. It is almost everywhere. It is helpful in binding one brick to another. Hence, it can be said that it is the concrete that is responsible for holding all the tall buildings around.

Concrete production is time-sensitive. Once it is prepared, it has to be placed at the site of action immediately before it hardens. It is often believed that concrete and cement are the same. But they are not. concrete is rather made from cement. It is produced by mixing various components such as water and cement. These are basically made in concrete tanks in which the cement and water are rotated and mixed at a high speed. The paste obtained after doing so is the concrete.

How Long Does Concrete Take To Dry?

The answer to this is that the concrete never gets dried and cured completely. With every passing day, it gets more and more hard and dry. If one wants to hasten the process of concrete setting and drying, lukewarm water can be added. Upon adding lukewarm water, the reaction occurs at a much faster rate and bond formation takes place.

However, the hardening that takes place in 24-48 hours is enough to make it set for walking without leaving any footprints. The following table shows the time taken by concrete to dry to perform various activities without getting it deformed:-

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Time Activities
24-48 hoursWalking
7 daysDriving
28 daysRolling heavy vehicles and types of equipment

Why Does Concrete Take This Long To Dry?

Concrete drying basically is a process in which concrete goes from its liquid state/plastic state to a hardened state increasing its strength over time. The strength of concrete is measured as “compressive strength”. The higher the compressive strength of concrete, the more fastly it gets dried. The strength of concrete is dependent on the hydration reaction since water forms the major part of concrete. A specific amount of water is consumed by the hydration reaction itself that helps in hastening the process of concrete drying.

Drying of concrete happens when the bond formation between the molecules of cement and water takes place. Bond is an adhesive force that holds cement and water molecules together. It is said that concrete takes forever to get dry and set. The drying process depends on the cement to water ratio. More water means less strength and more drying time, whereas less water means more strength and less drying time. This is because the bond formation between water and cement is an ongoing process. It gets on and on increasing the strength of concrete over time.

Conclusion

Concrete is a composite material that holds the infrastructure standing. It is basically a mixture of cement and water. It is prepared in concrete tanks. The process of hardening concrete is an ongoing process. The bond formation between cement and water molecules is responsible for the strength of concrete. The factor responsible for the bonding process is the tensile strength of concrete. The bonding mechanism concrete has, is the friction bond mechanism.

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The drying process largely depends on the hydration reaction. The hydration reaction takes place when cement is added to water. In the hydration reaction, a considerate amount of water is used up leading to the hardening of the concrete. In general, concrete drying is ongoing, but in 24-48 hours the concrete is enough dried up for an individual to walk over it without causing any dents or deformations. In 7 days, it is enough dried for a car to drive over it and in 28 days heavy rollers can also roll over it.

Hence, hydration energy, tensile strength, and the amount of water used are some major factors on which the drying and setting process of the concrete depends.

References

  1. https://www.icevirtuallibrary.com/doi/abs/10.1680/macr.1955.7.20.79
  2. https://www.mdpi.com/289858
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