Concrete is a strong, versatile material that is extremely popular and commonly used in a wide array of different large-scale commercial and industrial projects. Such major projects are often dubbed “large-pour” due to the significant amount of cement they pour at once to harden into concrete. However, such large-pour jobs generate a massive amount of heat, which if left unchecked can easily compromise the structural integrity and strength of the finished concrete. Fortunately there is a solution: concrete cooling systems that utilize flake ice.
Why Is Flake Ice the Industry Standard?
People automatically understand that when it comes to cooling ice is a very effective method. However, those outside of the concrete or industrial cooling industries may wonder why flake ice is the industry standard. The reason is that flake ice possess a number of very positive qualities that make it extremely successful for concrete cooling. Consider the following:
Flake Ice Is Energy Efficient
By far one of the most important reasons that flake ice is a good choice for concrete cooling is that flake ice is very energy efficient. Energy efficiency is key to getting the most value and benefit from the ice. Flake ice is so energy efficient for several key reasons including:
- It has a higher relative surface than any other type of ice. More surface area equals more contact points for cooling.
- Flake ice can be sub-cooled below freezing. This allows 100%, sometimes even more, of its latent cooling energy to be used on the concrete.
- Flake ice is removed from the ice drum by shearing, as opposed to other loosening methods such as hot gases. This prevents energy loss from the hot gas heat.
Flake Ice Is Easy to Work With
Another important quality of flake ice is that it is very pliable and easy to work with. Because it is sub-cooled it remains “dry” and does not stick together in clumps, or form larger chunks that might otherwise clog equipment. The lack of clumping also allows the flake ice to retain its high relative surface area and preserve the energy efficient traits already discussed.
Flake Ice Melts Quickly
While concrete cooling is extremely important for large-pour projects it is also crucial that any ice used for cooling be thoroughly and completely melted during the cement-mixing process. If pieces of ice remain unmelted during mixing this can lead to weakness and non-uniformity in the finished concrete. Flake ice is a good choice for concrete cooling because its tiny size results in very rapid melting and averts the problems associated with incomplete melting.
Flake Ice Is Easily Automated & Conveyed
Along with being resistant to clumping and easy to work with, flake ice is also very easy to use with automated ice rake systems and is further easily transported and conveyed along throughout the system and into the cement with efficient equipment like blowing systems and screw conveyors. This results in a concrete cooling system that is very reliable without being labor intensive.
Flake Ice Is Economical
Flake ice is also a very economical choice, in large part due to the reasons discussed above. For example its energy efficiency saves energy costs and ensures the most value for the ice. Meanwhile its small size and rapid melting time ensures that mixing times are not extended, thus putting less strain on equipment and minimizing service and repair costs while often extending the life of the equipment. Its easy of use and suitability for automation also keep labor costs down and allow workers to spend their time and attention on other tasks.
Flake ice has established itself as the industry standard for large-pour concrete cooling systems and in the face of its many advantages and uses that primacy is almost certain to continue. Semco designs and custom builds high quality concrete cooling systems that utilize flake ice and allow our clients to reap the full benefits these systems offer. Our systems are fully designed with each client’s needs in mind, ensuring that they get the most dependable and effective system possible for their applications.