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Environment adjacent to and within a freshly placed mass of portland cement concrete has a profound influence on the ultimate strength and durability which the concrete will exhibit. Temperature and moisture are the two most significant environmental properties. Generally, moist environments having moderately low temperatures provide optimum curing conditions. These conditions allow the cement to hydrate to the fullest extent possible within the physical-chemical limitations which always constrain complete hydration. For a given concrete—one having a fixed water/cement (w/c) ratio, cement factor, and other properties—it is usually desirable to advance hydration to the maximum extent possible through maintenance of a favorable curing environment.
Vice president, Ackenheil and Associates, Pittsburgh, Pa.