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The environment of concrete immediately after being mixed and deposited in the forms, particularly with reference to moisture content and temperature, known as curing, is an important factor with respect to its ultimate strength and durability. Optimum curing conditions are essential to the attainment of the maximum potential quality of concrete. Minimum curing may produce adequate quality of concrete for the intended use. The difference between optimum and minimum curing acceptable for a job can be a debatable subject. The influence of curing upon the performance of concrete has been the subject of study by a number of investigators and all have concluded that inadequate or improper curing will result in a variety of undesirable features, such as lower strength, random cracks, scaling, dusting, lack of resistance to abrasion, and lower resistance to weathering. Curing is described briefly as keeping the concrete moist and warm enough that hydration of the cement can continue. More elaborately, it is “the process of maintaining a satisfactory moisture content and a favorable temperature in concrete during the period immediately following placement so that hydration of the cement may continue until the desired properties are developed to a sufficient degree to meet the requirements of service” . This definition approaches that which can be considered minimum curing.
Proudley, C. E.
Construction materials consultant, Raleigh, N. C.