Hydration is essential to curing cement since the integrity of the result highly depends on the success of the hydration process.

The hydration process takes place once the cement grains begin to dissolve in water. The combination produces a series of reactions that produce more compounds over time. The accumulation of compounds results in the hardening and strengthening of concrete.

But there is more to hydration than just mixing water and cement and creating as many compounds as possible. Successful hydration depends on a number of factors.

Compounds in the Hydration Process

The compounds produced in the hydration process differ depending on the type of cement used. With general purpose cement or Portland cement, the four main mineral compounds are tricalcium silicate, dicalcium silicate, tricalcium aluminate and tetracalcium aluminoferrite.

The tricalcium aluminate reaction forms an aluminate-rich gel that reacts with sulfate to form small rod-like crystals. These formations contribute to the stiff density of the cement paste during the dormant reaction phase.

At the end of the dormant phase, other compounds begin to react and revive the hydration process. Concrete continues to strengthen and fresh crystals come into contact with water. It can take a month before concrete gets to its full strength unless other compounds and curing agents are added to it.

Maximum Hydration with Curing Compounds

Curing compounds protect fresh concrete from evaporation, temperature changes and other factors that might rid concrete of moisture. When this happens, concrete will be prone to cracking and dusting and will not be strong enough to withstand heavy weights.

The hydration process becomes more successful with the help of curing compounds that aid in moisture retention and chemical reactions, resulting in strong, firm and durable concrete.

The best time to apply a curing agent on fresh concrete depends on the weather and environmental conditions of your area, but it is advisable not to wait until all the water has evaporated.

Types of Curing Agents

Curing compounds can be either water-based or solvent-based. Water-based curing agents work over seven days, making them ideal for concrete projects that require a fast turnaround time. Their water-based nature makes them non-flammable and non-toxic, which minimises health and safety hazards.

Solvent-based curing compounds, on the other hand, work for a longer time period of 28 days. Caution with handling is advised. Unlike water-based curing agents, solvent-based products are flammable. When working with this type of curing compound, it is highly recommended to wear gloves, face masks and other protective gear to avoid health risks.

High-Quality Concrete Products from Trusted Brands

Form Direct is a trusted provider of high-quality concrete products. Our catalogue carries concrete curing and crack repair products from only the best and trusted brands in the industry. We offer a range of curing agents that maximise the hydration process and deliver the best results for your project.

With a wealth of experience and a wide area of expertise, we have earned the trust of builders and construction firms in Australia with a reliable customer service and punctual delivery times.

View our catalogue today. Get in touch with us for any enquiries.