Aggregate cooling is a type of cooling system that cools aggregates in concrete mixture. There are different types of aggregate cooling. One common method is the wet belt system. This method is so popular because it is a cost-effective alternative to sand cooling and other higher costs methods. Using the wet belts allows the concrete to travel along a conveyor belt while being chilled by water. This allows the concrete to be cooled without filling silos full of water, saving space and money. It’s important to know all the options when it comes to aggregate cooling. Every method has its own benefits and drawbacks and some methods are best accompanied by other companion methods.
Why Aggregate Cooling is Effective
Aggregate cooling is effective because it eliminates potential problems that arise during the concrete-making process. Aggregates are mixed together to make concrete, including gravel, sand and crushed stone. The granular minerals need to be cooled so the concrete remains strong and doesn’t crack. The reason that they need to be constantly cooled is because without aggregate cooling, the particles heat up. As the cement mixture combines with water, a chemical reaction causes the granules to give off heat. The aggregate cooling will keep the temperature down and create strong concrete.
Why Aggregate Cooling is Beneficial
As previously mentioned, there is more than one type of aggregate cooling. The two most common types are cooling by air and cooling by water.
Cooling by Air – Cooling by air is done in silos. The concrete is positioned on a belt with nozzles in place below them. The nozzles give off heavy streams of air to blow at the concrete like a strong wind. The air cooling is beneficial because it provides necessary moisture without providing excess moisture. Excess moisture slows down the process because it prevents the concrete from solidifying. The air cooling system is also easy to install. Nozzle attachments just need to be installed to silos that are already in place. They also need little-to-no maintenance over time
Water Cooling – There are two different ways to cool the aggregate mixture by water. These included flooded silos and wet belt applications. With the flooded silo method, the silos are flooded to precool the aggregates. Once they are cooled to the proper temperature, the silo is drained. This method isn’t optimal for a few reason. For one, it takes up more space because larger silos are needed. This also has much larger operational costs. A much larger amount of water is needed and wasted. The wet belt method is the most cost-effective and popular method for cooling aggregates. It’s beneficial because you will use much less water without having to flood the entire silo. Smaller amounts of ice water is splashed onto the conveyor belts and the aggregates are still cooled properly. The flooding method can also cause the concrete to not harden properly. The small amount of water with the wet belt method will keep excess moisture off of the aggregates so the concrete will form properly.
Other Methods of Concrete Cooling
There are other ways to cool concrete. For example sometimes concrete is cooled while it is being mixed on a mixing truck. This is called agitator or drum cooling. However, the concrete is cooled in much smaller quantities since only a small amount can fit in the drum at one time. Post cooling is done when the concrete is already mixed and poured. However, the concrete still needs to be cooled during the mixing process. However, by far the most popular and widely used method of cooling concrete is by cooling the water itself that will be used in the hydration process. Regardless of which concrete method is required, Semco designs and manufacturers high quality, industry-leading concrete cooling systems. Please contact us to discuss the best system for your needs.