How Can You Benefit From Using Concrete Maturity?

Many of our clients mention that one key benefit from using the Maturix sensors is the real-time insight into the temperature, maturity and strength development of their concrete. Having this information allows them to do things that they could not before. Such as being able to optimize the use of resources, get insights into their concrete curing, monitor critical spots in the structure, reduce the risk of thermal cracks and create documentation automatically. These benefits have been experienced both by clients doing on-site castings on projects and in precast factories. Below, we have explained more in detail each of the benefits mentioned above:

Get the Best Out of Low Carbon Concrete

In recent years, we have seen a huge growth in the use of green concrete, which are concrete mixes with a lower co2 footprint. The general experience is that these concrete types have a much slower strength development as well as a lower temperature increase during the hydration process. This means that if a low carbon concrete cement is used, this will have a significantly lower strength after 1 day of curing compared to a traditional basic cement. This can be extremely critical both on job sites and precast factories where keeping daily schedules and production cycles is key to stay competitive in the market. Some research (Lasse Frølich, Portland Open 2021) shows that the new concrete types have a very limited additional strength development after 28 days. This contrasts with the previous experience with normal concrete types where the strength can gradually develop well beyond the 28 day mark. 

These problems can obviously be compensated with use of accelerators and/or adding heating measures to the concrete before casting or in the curing stage. However, the experience obtained working with normal concrete mixes can be difficult to directly apply to these new concrete types. Therefore, it can be beneficial to use sensors to keep track of the curing progress and learn how to get the most out of these new concrete types.

Get Vital Data About the Structures’ Critical Spots

Placing concrete sensors in the concrete structure also enables you to view how the curing is progressing in one or more spots. There are certain places in the structure that cure much faster or slower than the rest. Conventional methods do not provide you with information about these critical spots so you do not know how those are doing. In contrast, the Maturix sensors can be placed anywhere in the structure to keep track of cross sections, corners with low temperature development, temperature outside the castings, strength around hooks, prestressed wires etc. Then, the data about each of the spots can be seen individually, you can see an example of this below:

Data about the structures critical spots

Reduce Uncertainty on Concrete Break Tests

Low breaks or inconsistent compressive test results are a common problem in the construction industry. There are many standard procedures describing proper handling and preparation of test samples, however, many times the procedure is not done according to the specifications resulting in inconsistent results.

Therefore, when receiving low break results, it becomes difficult to identify what caused the low result. These results could indicate that the concrete mix was not designed well or that the supplied material was not up to the specifications. But it could also have happened because the samples were not prepared or cured properly, they were damaged during transport or the testing machine was not calibrated properly. 

All of these potential causes will create a lot of uncertainty in the project as it would become unclear how to proceed next, wasting a lot of time waiting and investigating the different possible causes. In contrast, if sensors are placed in the structure, it becomes possible to track the progress continuously and instantly detect if something is not going well. Then, if a low break happens, you will have a much richer information of what might be the cause. 

Optimized Use of Cooling and Heating Measures

Keeping track of the curing process with the Maturix sensors enables an optimized:

  1. Usage of covers; as the use can be optimized during the curing stage to fit with the current temperatura and the ambient climate.
  2. Heating usage; many precast facilities add additional heating to the concrete either by water pipes underneath the concrete beds or with infrared heating placed above them. By knowing the curing stage your concrete is on, you will be able to turn off the heating when this is not needed.
  3. Usage of cooling pipes: as explained above, you could see in real time the internal temperatures of your concrete at different spots. This will allow you to make the use of cooling measures much more efficient. 

Reduce CO2 Footprint With Valuable Knowledge

The cement content in the concrete is one of the big determinants of the Co2 footprint. Even a small reduction in the cement content will enable a meaningful Co2 footprint reduction. Using the concrete sensors’ data in conjunction with an ambient monitoring enables you to: 

  1. Improve the mix design of current used concrete 
  2. Apply the most suitable concrete mix for the job. One that still fulfils requirements while having the lowest possible Co2 footprint.

Reduced Risk of Thermal Cracks

Thermal cracking can be one of the most challenging effects to manage in concrete. The risk of cracks and defects increases when the concrete is cured under extreme environments, which might be the case in very hot or cold weather, when producing special concrete elements, or in mass concrete applications. 

In many of these applications, concrete simulations are made beforehand in order to design the structure correctly and choose the appropriate concrete mix. However, these simulations might be inaccurate, as several factors such as the ever-changing weather conditions can be hard to predict in advance.

precise data about in-field concrete

Constant monitoring on-site with the maturity method can provide more precise data about your in-field concrete. Some customers of Maturix even monitor their cooling systems to stay in full control allowing them to always deliver concrete works of excellent quality.

Automatic Documentation/Compliance

Large concrete jobs like infrastructure, mass concreting, high rises, damps or other utility structures do often have specific requirements for thermal monitoring. Embedding sensors enables automatic documentation, and a lot of labour hours can be saved compared to using a traditional data logger. In Maturix we call this Documentation as you build.