Concrete cooling is a crucial component of many large-pour projects in order ensure the quality and structural integrity of the resulting cement. Thus a concrete cooling system with various distinct, integral parts is likely to be in place for these large-pour projects. One such integral part of successful concrete cooling systems is the flake ice plant. Let’s take a look at how the flake ice plant works and what benefits it offers for concrete cooling.
About the Flake Ice Plant
For most concrete cooling system, cold water from the water chilling plant and cold water tank makes its way into the flake ice plant. This cold water is then sprayed onto the surface of refrigerated drums that are so cold that the water freezes instantly into ice. In fact the drums are so cold that the ice is often sub-cooled to below freezing. After the ice has formed ice removal tools then shear the ice away from the drum in a very thin layer, forming flakes. The flake ice then falls into special refrigerated storage containers where it can then be taken to chill the concrete during pouring.
Why Flake Ice?
There are of course almost limitless shapes and sizes into which ice can be frozen and tube ice, plate ice, shell ice, and crushed ice are all also popular ice types in a wide array of different industrial and commercial applications. That thus raises the question, why flake ice for concrete cooling systems? Flake ice has many major benefits including the following:
The Benefits of Flake Ice
- Flake ice has a greater surface area per unit of ice than any other ice type. This allows it to have a higher cooling efficiency compared to other ice types.
- Flake ice is able to flow well and does not clump or stick together into blocks or chunks, thus allowing it to be used more easily without blockage and also allowing it to maintain its cooling efficiency and relative high surface area.
- Since flake ice is often sub-cooled it is able to utilize a 100%, or even more, of its latent heat cooling energy.
- Because flake ice is so small it has a very short melting time, thus leading to quicker mixing times since the ice needs to melt completely in the concrete.
- The shorter mixing times made possible by flake ice also result in less strain on mixing equipment, thereby increasing service life and lowering costs.
- The dryness of the sub-cooled flake ice allows for accurate calculation of its cooling input and also quickly reveals its effects on the mixture temperature.
- Flake ice can be conveniently stored and works well with automated ice rake systems.
- Flake ice can be easily transported where it is needed, often using blowing systems or screw conveyors.
- Because the flake ice is sheared from the drum rather than loosened with hot gases there is no energy loss.
The Benefits of Sub-Cooling
Many of the benefits of flake ice discussed above are facilitated or enhanced by sub-cooling. Sub-cooling involves lowering the ice temperature to below freezing. The advantage of this is that the flake ice will not melt prematurely as it is handled and will thus remain dry, crisp, and easier to work with. This also ensures that all of its cooling potential will be able to be put to use in the cement mixture where it is needed.
Semco Provides Dependable Custom Flake Ice Plants
Semco provides custom-built concrete cooling systems that are designed to best fit the needs of the particular client and project. We can customize the flake ice plant to provide different capacities of daily flake ice production and will optimize the system to best suit the cooling temperature and water cooling capacity requirements of your cement pour operations. For more information about concrete cooling systems be sure to check out the other articles in this series and as always please contact Semco so that we can design an outstanding concrete cooling system for your company.