Concrete is among the most durable building materials on earth, but only when it is made properly. Poorly mixed concrete is subject to damage and erosion from exposure. One of the most damaging weather elements for concrete is the freeze/thaw cycle.
What is the Freeze/Thaw Cycle?
All concrete has small pores that collect water from rain, snow, or even high humidity. If the water inside these pores freezes, it causes a great deal of stress to the concrete. This stress occurs because water expands when it freezes, and the naturally occurring concrete pores don’t have enough room to allow for this expansion. The result over time is cracking, scaling, and breakage.
Can you Prevent Freeze/Thaw Damage?
One of the simplest ways to protect your concrete from this type of damage is by adding entrained air. Entrained air refers to microscopic air pockets created by an air entrainment admixture, such as Air Plus. When correctly mixed into your concrete mix, these admixtures evenly distribute air bubbles throughout the concrete, ensuring that every square inch of the resulting structure has extra room for frozen water.
Entrained Air vs. Entrapped Air
Sometimes concrete can have what is known as entrapped air, which is different from entrained air. While entrained is consistent and microscopic, entrapped air occurs randomly throughout the mix and can include large air pockets. Entrapped air means the concrete was not mixed properly and is a sign of weak, unstable concrete.
Order your Air Entrainer Today
So the next time you’re pouring concrete in an area with colder weather patterns, be sure you have an air entrainer, like Air Plus or Super Air Plus, on hand. It will provide better protection for your concrete and save you time and money in the future.