While many discussions are happening about protecting your concrete from freezing as the winter months set in, have you ever wondered what happens when liquid admixtures freeze? Aside from the most obvious problem of not being able to use them if they freeze at a job site, some long-term challenges can occur when liquid admixtures freeze while in storage.
What Happens When Liquid Admixtures Freeze?
The most common problem with frozen admixtures is the separation of water and chemicals. Typically the water molecules will rise to the top and the chemical molecules will settle at the bottom. This creates a concentrated form of the admixture that will not properly mix with the concrete, and will most likely change the water-cement ratio of the mix.
So, Are Frozen Admixtures Ruined?
The good news is that for most admixtures on the market, freezing will not ruin them. The products will, however, need to be revived through mechanical agitation. You can also use low air pressure for agitation, but this can sometimes cause unwanted foam in the admixture. Once the product has been mixed, it needs to be tested in a lab to ensure that it is once again homogenous. The lab will test things like pH, specific gravity, residue by over-drying, and infrared analysis.
That Sounds Like a lot of Work. Can Frozen Admixtures Be Prevented?
The best way to reduce the risk of your liquid concrete admixtures freezing during storage is to store them properly. Most of the admixtures on the market will freeze in temperatures below 28 degrees Fahrenheit. So storing them at consistent temperatures above 30 degrees is recommended. Unfortunately, not all admixtures are made the same, so you will need to check with the manufacturer to ensure that you are storing the product correctly.
What About Powdered Admixtures – Will They Freeze?
Powdered admixtures do not contain any liquid, and are therefore resistant to freezing temperatures. So you don’t have to take the time to revitalize them when spring arrives or pay the extra cost to store them in a temperature-controlled environment. Follow our social media channels for more information about how our products can improve your concrete.