Freeze/Thaw Protection

Exposure to cold weather is believed to damage and destroy millions of cubic feet of concrete annually; from buildings to roadways, dams to bridges. Any time concrete is saturated with water and frozen to 25°F or less.

Saturation is defined as 91% of the cement porosity filled with water. Lean, normal-weight concrete is about 6 to 10% porosity, which equals 11 to 18 gallons in a cubic yard. In a normal 4 inch thick concrete slab, less than ½ inch of water will completely saturate the concrete.

The typical Southwest Idaho climate imposes roughly 100 days of below freezing temperatures, 20 of which never warm to above freezing. That equates to a minimum of 80 freeze/thaw cycles annually.

Entrained air bubbles are the only way to properly protect concrete from damage by freeze/thaw. A quality air entrainment system consists of a well-dispersed, microscopic porosity system. The important parameters include the air content and the spacing factor.

An effective air-void system has 1μm to 1mm air bubbles, evenly distributed and having a spacing factor of 0.008 inch. ACI 318-14, Table 19.3.3.1 prescribes an air content for 3/4-inch aggregate concrete of 6% (±1.5%) for F2 and F3 exposure, which is concrete exposed to ANY ice or snow or ANY deicing chemicals.

Learn more: concrete.org; concreteconstruction.net; cement.org