Concrete is utilized for a number of different things. From buildings, to residents, to monuments and to various trafficked surfaces, concrete is a strong component and a versatile material. In order for concrete to be created and worked into its various shapes and forms, it must endure specific processes. Take a look at how concrete is made and some of the most commonly used cooling systems.

Creating Concrete

Concrete is created through a combination of aggregate materials and a unique paste mixture. The paste mixture, which is composed of portland cement and water, is combined with the aggregate material. The aggregate material may be either course or fine, which contributes to the different cement textures. As all of the materials mix together, the complete mixture undergoes a cooling process called hydration that causes it to harden. During this process, the material heats up and must be cooled down to be utilized. There are a few different cooling techniques that may be used.

Aggregate Cooling

One way to help make sure that the cement will be able to cool down properly is to ensure that it does not get too hot to begin with. To achieve this, there are two distinctive types of aggregate cooling techniques that may be applied.

Air – For this process, air is continuously blown through the aggregate material to keep it cool during the mixing process and afterwards. In order for the air that is circulating to be most effective, the aggregates must be moist, however they cannot be too damp. To achieve this balance, the air also helps to circulate warm air to dry the materials out a bit so that they may still stick together.

Water – Simply stated, cool water is added to the aggregate mixture to harden the concoction. The water must be at a specific temperature to activate the process, and the right temperature may vary dependent upon the amount of aggregate material. If the water is not naturally cold enough, a cooling system may be needed.

The two methods have their specific uses and advantages. Cooling by water tends to be much quicker than cooling by air, but air cooling is an efficient means of cooling in tight spaces.

Post-Pouring Cooling

Where aggregate cooling begins to cool items at the beginning of the process, post-pouring cooling systems cool the elements towards the end. Usually, piping is laid where the concrete will be poured beforehand. After the concrete has been poured in but before it is completely set, cold water is pumped through the pipes from containerized water chillers. The cold water then cools down the cement from the inside out. Usually, the water enters the pipes at 40⁰ and reaches around 50⁰ by the time it completes its cycle through the piping. This process is usually found to be most effective when used to cool larger cement features, such as dams, fountains and some highways. Despite its effectiveness, this process is usually not the most commonly used, consider the various elements that must be in place for it to work properly, which increases the time, labor and cost associate with the project.

Sand Cooling

Basically, sand is cooled and used to help keep the aggregate mixture cool throughout the hydration process. This form of cooling is often utilized in conjunction with another type of cooling method. The most common types of techniques that sand cooling is added to include: water, ice and aggregate cooling. Depending upon the size and extent of the cooling process, sometimes the aforementioned methods cannot achieve proper temperatures by themselves, at which point the sand cooling method is helpful. However, similar to post-pouring cooling, sand cooling does require specific equipment and procedures that impeded upon the process. For instance, sand cooling requires sand silos or rotary cooling drums, which are both expensive expenditures and require additional time to get the sand to the proper temperature to make the process effective. On the other hand, incorporating this process can help to lower the costs of the cooling methods that it is utilized with.

Depending upon your needs and desires, any of these cooling methods could be beneficial for you in creating viable concrete. Contact Semco to receive customized cooling systems. They provide superior quality work with excellent customer service.