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Publication Number: FHWA-RD-02-099
Date: January 2005

Guide for Curing of Portland Cement Concrete Pavements: Final Report

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Curing has long been recognized as an important process in constructing durable concrete pavements. Proper curing allows the concrete to develop its potential strength and durability. Inadequate curing can result in surface damage in the form of plastic shrinkage cracking, spalling, and erosion of paste. Since many variables influence the choice of curing materials and when and how to apply curing, the guidance contained in this document should be very helpful to those responsible for concrete curing operations. It was developed through a review of the literature and of other available guidance supplemented by laboratory testing as necessary where information was lacking. It places particular emphasis on attention to details with respect to moisture retention and concrete temperature control.

This is Volume I of two volumes. Sufficient copies of this report are being distributed to provide eight copies to each FHWA Resource Center, four copies to each FHWA Division, and a minimum of six copies to each State highway agency. Direct distribution is being made to the division offices for their forwarding to the State highway agencies. Additional copies for the public are available from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS), 5285 Port Royal Road, Springfield, Virginia 22161. Fifty copies of Curing of Portland Cement Concrete Pavements, Volume II Final Report (FHWA-HRT-05-038) will be distributed, and Volume I and Volume II will be available online at www.fhwa.dot.gov/research/tfhrc/.

T. Paul Teng, P.E.
Director, Office of Infrastructure
Research and Development


This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this document. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation.

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers' names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.

Quality Assurance Statement

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides high-quality information to serve Government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of its information. FHWA periodically reviews quality issues and adjusts its programs and processes to ensure continuous quality improvement.

1. Report No.


2. Government Accession No.

3. Recipient's Catalog No.

4. Title and Subtitle

Incremental Costs and Performance Benefits of Various Features of Concrete Pavements

5. Report Date

January 2005

6. Performing Organization Code

7.     Author(s)

Toy S. Poole

8. Performing Organization Report No.

9. Performing Organization Name and Address

Structures Laboratory
USAE Research and Development Center (ERDC)
3909 Halls Ferry Road
Vicksburg, MS 39180-6199

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)

11. Contract or Grant No.


12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

Federal Highway Administration
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101-2296

13. Type of Report and Period Covered


14. Sponsoring Agency Code

15. Supplementary Notes

Contracting Officer’s Technical Representatives (COTR): Stephen Forster and Peter Kopac, HRDI-11

16. Abstract

This document provides guidance on details of concrete curing practice as they pertain to construction of portland cement concrete pavements. The guide is organized around the major events in curing pavements: curing immediately after placement (initial curing), curing during the period after final finishing (final curing), and termination of curing and evaluation of effectiveness of curing. Information is presented on selection of curing materials and procedures, analysis of concrete properties and jobsite conditions, and on ways to adjust curing practice to account for specific project conditions.

17. Key Words

Portland cement concrete pavements, curing

18. Distribution Statement


19. Security Classif. (of this report)


20. Security Classif. (of this page)


21. No. of Pages


22. Price

Form DOT F 1700.7   (8-72)    Reproduction of completed page authorized

SI* (Modern Metric) Conversion Factors





Concrete Materials and Mixture Proportions-Effect on Curing
Determination of Bleeding for Job Concrete
Importance of Time of Initial Setting
Anticipate Probable Drying and Thermal Stress Conditions on the Job
Analysis of Multiple Factors Affecting Early Moisture-Loss Management
Planning for Potential Corrective Action


Verify Onsite Drying Conditions.
Effective Onsite Adjustments to Correct for Excessive Drying.


Curing Compound Methods
Water-Added Methods
Curing with Sheet Materials
Temperature-Control Methods


Length of Curing
Verification of Curing




Figure 1. Chart. Major points for preconstruction planning
Figure 2. Equation. Bleeding rate from water-cement ratio
Figure 3. Equation. Time-averaged bleeding rate
Figure 4. Graph. Plot of bleed water formation v. time for a typical paving mixture
Figure 5. Equation. Time of setting-adjustment for concrete temperature
Figure 6. Equation. Evaporation rate of bleed water-effect of environmental conditions
Figure 7. Chart. Evaporation rate nomograph from ACI 308
Figure 8. Graph. Plot of cumulative bleed and cumulative evaporation v. time
Figure 9. Graph. Effect of reducing concrete placing temperature from 30 °C to 25 °C
Figure 10. Graph. Effect of reducing evaporation by 50 percent by using evaporation reducer
Figure 11. Chart. Major items requiring attention during construction-initial curing period
Figure 12. Equation. Temperature of fresh concrete from ingredients
Figure 13. Equation. Frequency of application of evaporation reducer
Figure 14. Chart. Major items requiring attention during construction-final curing period
Figure 15. Chart. Major features in curing compound practice
Figure 16. Equation. Drying time for curing compound-temperature correction
Figure 17. Equation. Application rate for curing compound-correction for texturing
Figure 18. Chart. Major features of curing with added water
Figure 19. Chart. Major features of curing with water-retention methods
Figure 20. Chart. Thermal effects
Figure 21. Chart. Considerations pertinent to the termination of curing


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